Hampton School Board will change names of 5 schools

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton City Schools has officially decided to change the names of five schools with ties to segregation, slavery and the Confederacy.

Hampton approved the name changes on Wednesday, just one day after Newport News took similar action for several of its schools. The district started the process to change the names in spring of 2020.

The new names will honor Hampton natives or longtime residents.

Booker Elementary, which was named for a family who owned slaves, will be renamed for Hampton judge and former school board chair Albert Patrick III,

“Judge Albert W. Patrick III was a lifelong resident of Hampton,” Hampton City Schools said in a release. “His devotion to the city led him to be very active in the community. He was especially interested in ensuring all children received a first-class education. Also, his daughter is currently an elementary school teacher in Hampton.”

John B. Cary Elementary, named for a Confederate officer, will be Mary T. Christian Elementary for the longtime state delegate and educator from Hampton who died in 2019.

“She is noted for many accomplishments, including receiving numerous awards for her work on the integration of public schools,” Hampton Schools said.

Spratley Gifted Center, named after a local judge who at one point called a mixed race couple’s marriage a “detriment to the community,” will be Ann H. Kilgore Gifted Center for the city’s first female mayor who helped integrate Hampton’s schools and businesses.

“Ann H. Kilgore valued education. Her mother was a teacher and principal, Ann herself was an English teacher in Hampton, and both of her daughters are former educators with one going on to be a superintendent of a school division.”

Tucker-Capps Fundamental Elementary was named for two Virginia colonists, one of which owned slaves. It will be named for pioneering NASA engineer Mary Jackson, who’s also the namesake for NASA’s headquarters and a local community center.

“Mary W. Jackson, who was born in Hampton, was a scientist, aerospace engineer, humanitarian, and trailblazer who paved the way for thousands of others to succeed not only at NASA but throughout the nation. Jackson was the first African-American female engineer at NASA.”

John Tyler Elementary, named for the slave-owning president from Virginia, will be Mary S. Peake Elementary for the Hampton educator and humanitarian.

“She is known for conducting classes under the historic Emancipation Oak. Her love of education was so strong, she continued to teach despite her failing health,” Hampton City Schools said.

The board approved $150,000 in funding this spring for renaming, which is set to be completed by fall 2021.

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