Traces of Racism Remain in Alabama

In the city of Montgomery, there are 2 high schools named after Confederate leaders. Sadly, I attend one of those schools. Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee High School are both a disgrace to our society. The name itself still sanctifies the lives of men who owned minorities. The same minorities whose ancestors attend these schools. Students are deceived by the sports and "school spirit" they try to possess! Not grasping that when they say, "GO GENERALS, GO VOLS!" they are still supporting those leaders. We are still wearing their mascots and have no say in it. We are still owned. 

If Alabama changed so much, why is this even an issue? The state legislatures intentionally passed the “Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.”  Alabama politicians say that there is nothing they can do. We are not asking to change the 20+ roads that are also named after leaders. This is a statue standing over hundreds of students. There are Black kids in a discriminatory man's school. 

Furthermore, history teachers fail to do their job. They do not incorporate the history behind the name of our schools. They have a lack of care for that part of history. Being that students lack the proper education, we have no power. This is the main reason slave owners did not want their slaves to be educated. They feared they would eventually rise against them. Now we have the tools to educate ourselves. Therefore we should stand against what some fail to realize. 

Some overlook the issue, with no regard to change it. In contrast, several protests have been held with attempts to get the state's attention. Racial justice writers have made efforts to work with boards to counteract their rigid laws against changing the conditions. The state still prefers to ignore our cries for justice. 

My whole point is that although we can not change history, we can make a new one. We can make a new name for this period. The leaders mentioned owned a minimum of 100 slaves each; they are not fit for what are now considered mostly Black schools.

Ornesha Whatley, 14, Montgomery

Written by: Ornesha Whatley

Edited by: Isabel Hope

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