It took years of community outcry, the urging of a governor, being sued by the NAACP, and national media scrutiny for the Hanover County School Board to finally be shamed into voting to remove the names of Confederate treasonists from two schools’ monikers in 2020. Now, this same board is proposing that the one school in the district with a name representative of Black history and Black excellence be renamed, in a move that smells like spite and looks like a regression.
Last Tuesday, a packed School Board meeting saw over a dozen members of the public speak up about John M. Gandy Elementary School, an institution that was once one of the only schools for Black students in Hanover County. A new school building under construction on the current Gandy site that will replace Gandy and consolidate it with Henry Clay Elementary was slated to retain the school name at the project’s inception in 2018.
Back then, board members assured community members that they had no intention of removing Gandy’s name from the replacement school. What has changed since then?
In Hanover, a name is more than a name – Virginia Mercury
Back then, board members assured community members that they had no intention of removing Gandy’s name from the replacement school. What has changed since then? Well, the board became embroiled in a firestorm over its refusal to change the Confederate school names starting in 2019.