Southern Poverty Law Center apologizes
The Southern Poverty Law Center's list of public schools named after Confederate generals got a little shorter yesterday. The group had placed Stonewall Elementary School of Lexington, Ky. on the list, only to be bombarded with complaints from officials that the school had not been named after Stonewall Jackson, but rather the subdivision in which the school is located.
In a Tuesday email to Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilwoman Jennifer Mossotti, an official with the Southern Poverty Law Center said the elementary school off Wellington Way had been removed from the list. Mossotti's council district includes Stonewall Elementary.
"We apologize for erroneously including Stonewall Elementary," said Alex Amend, the director of research for the Intelligence Project, which is part of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "It has been removed from our interactive map and is not included in the data set we've been providing to journalists since Charlottesville."
That's just fine, but what about the damage done by the smear in the first place? The fact that the school had been removed from the map only partially redresses the grievance. How about a note on the map prominently displayed that says the school was erroneously listed on previous versions of the map?
The carelessness of the SPLC in this matter is astounding. Didn't the people there do any research at all before giving the school the kiss of death?
William M. Ambrose, who has written a history of Fayette County's public schools, said the Stonewall Estates subdivision off Clays Mill Road was developed on land owned by the Sayre family.
The Sayres' home off Harrodsburg Road "was surrounded by an old masonry stone wall common to area farms," Ambrose said in a written statement. "Portions of this masonry was used to build the entrance pillars to the subdivision. Examples remain on the north boundary, on Chelsea and Hyde Park Drive, and Buckingham at Arrowhead."
The school district also argued Fayette County schools named after a person includes the person's first and last name.
Others in Lexington including Mossotti also wrote to the Southern Poverty Law Center asking the elementary school be removed from the list.
A school named after the Confederate general would usually be called "Thomas Jackson Elementary." Is there any other school named after Stonewall Jackson using only his nickname and not even his last name?
The SPLC's list of schools named for Confederate generals and politicians is a political document. It's obvious that very little – if any – research went into the list beyond a simple internet search. I think it likely that there are other schools on that list that present a similar problem that local officials have not been made aware of. The SPLC didn't send a letter to these schools informing them they were on this list, so the only way they'd realize they were erroneously listed is if they studied the SPLC map.
That the SPLC would so cavalierly compile a list that makes schools a target for Antifa crazies is reprehensible.