The Latest in Renaming Mania

Liberals understand that whoever controls the past controls the future, and whoever controls the present controls the past. Thus their efforts to constantly rewrite America’s history. Disputes over statues, historical monuments, names of elementary schools and so on all arise from this basic insight on the part of the Left.

Here is the latest from my neck of the woods: “Minneapolis’ Patrick Henry High School to get a new name.”

Patrick Henry High School will be getting a new name, after the Minneapolis school board on Tuesday unanimously directed the school community to begin the name change process.

What is the problem with Patrick Henry, firebrand advocate for independence?

The board’s school names advisory committee, which was formed in 2020, had recommended a name change for the North Side high school because Patrick Henry — an 18th-century Virginia politician and leading proponent of independence before the Revolutionary War — owned slaves.

According to the resolution approved Tuesday, “students, staff, and community members recognize the need for a school name that better represents the values of the community.”

This is the same school district that now openly advocates race discrimination. Personally, I suspect that the problem with Patrick Henry, from a leftist point of view, is not that his family owned slaves but that he was pro-American independence.

The renaming mania doesn’t stop there:

Two other schools in the district, Sheridan Elementary and Jefferson Elementary, were respectively renamed Las Estrellas and Ella Baker this year. The process to change those names began in 2020.

Phil Sheridan helped win the Civil War and thus abolish slavery–Grant regarded Sheridan as his best field commander–and Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration on Independence, served as our third president, and arranged the Louisiana Purchase which included the land on which Minneapolis and much of Minnesota now sit. So obviously they are out of the question as names for elementary schools in Minnesota. As for Las Estrellas, it means “the stars” in English. The significance escapes me. And I have never heard of Ella Baker either. Apparently she is a more notable figure in American history than Thomas Jefferson.

Then there is this, which actually happened some time ago:

A Mendota Heights high school in 2020 dropped the name of Henry Sibley, Minnesota’s first governor, because of Sibley’s role in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and the country’s largest mass execution; it’s now Two Rivers High School.

For well over a century, Henry Sibley was correctly viewed as a hero. As former governor of the new State of Minnesota, he led militia troops and a few regulars who rushed to western Minnesota to confront rampaging Sioux Indians who had carried out the worst mass murder in the history of the United States up to that time–since exceeded only by the 9/11 terrorist attacks–and at any time in the history of conflict between whites and Indians from 1492 to the present. Taking advantage of the fact that many men were away from home fighting in the Civil War, Sioux warriors attacked the handful who remained, along with innocent women and children, murdering 600, of whom 100 were children under the age of 10, in ways that were often too barbaric to be recounted.

It was Henry Sibley and his men who brought the Great Sioux Massacre to an end. The Sioux did not fare well when they faced armed men rather than unsuspecting women and children. That is a bit of history that once was universally known, but now is mostly forgotten. And the real history is much too hot for our far-left education establishment to handle.

It is easy to discount the Left’s persistent attacks on our history, as reflected in these re-naming controversies, as harmless if misguided. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Our country’s history–which is to say, our country–is under attack. Leftists, a group that includes most of our educational establishment, understand that if they discredit our history, they can destroy (“fundamentally transform”) our country, which is their goal. They must be resisted at every turn, and the true stories of our history must not be allowed to go dark.

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