On Monday night members of the Alexandria City School Board in Virginia voted 9-0 in favor of changing the names of both T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School. The first educational institute takes its name from Thomas Chambliss Williams, a former Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent who strongly opposed the 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education and any notions of desegregation. During his time as superintendent, Williams claimed that Black students “learned differently” than their white peers and must be separated from them.
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The second high school takes it name from an oceanographer who had served in the Confederate Army and had attempted to negotiate a slave trade with brazil following the Civil War.
The overwhelming vote to change the famed Alexandria City high school is estimated to cost about $325,000 but upholding the institution’s claim to fame as a historic ground for acceptance may be priceless.
In the Walt Disney Pictures film directed by Boaz Yakin, Denzel Washington starred as iconic T.C Williams High head coach Herman Boone. The head coach, initially assigned to coach the high school’s Black football team, deals with his own experiences with racial tensions and integrates the school’s Black and white Titans together to become state champions. Washington’s real-life character died in December 2019.
Remember The Titans, also starring Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst and Donald Faison, won multiple awards at ceremonies including the Black Reel AWards, BMI Film & TV Awards and the BET Awards in 2001.
The Alexandria City School Board still has yet to decide on a new name for the high school.