Philip L. Brown High School?? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Philip L. Brown High School??

I think our school board should seriously consider renaming Annapolis High School as Philip L. Brown Senior High in honor of the noted educator and civil rights activist who died recently at the age of 100. Naming schools and public buildings in honor of great men and women who served and helped improve our communities is a long-standing tradition.

An effort is underway to name a school for Brown, as reported in The Sun at Brown .

Sometimes we name these buildings in honor of those still alive or still serving and for some reason, that just does not suit me, but it seems to be a fairly recent phenomena, although I cannot substantiate that belief. The Mike Miller Senate Office Building, and William Donald Schaefer Tower come to mind, but so does the Carol Parham Building that houses the school board's offices next to Annapolis High School. Dr. Parham was Superintendent of our county's schools for over eight years. She was the first woman and the first African American to serve in this position.

This is what The Sun just wrote about Brown:

Brown was born in Annapolis in 1909. He graduated from high school in 1926 and attended what was then Bowie Normal School, now Bowie State University, earning an elementary teacher's certificate in 1928. Brown began teaching in a two-room schoolhouse when he was 19. He married Rachel Hall, who was also a teacher, in 1932. Together they formed the Colored Teachers Association in 1938, which led the fight for equal pay for black teachers. He also earned a bachelor's degree from Morgan State University and in 1955, a master's degree in higher education from New York University.
I recommend that readers turn to the article in The Sun, especially to see what current school board member Eugene Peterson has to say. In that same article, we learn that "According to board policy, an honoree must have been dead for three years before a school can be named for him, and the school PTA should make the nomination. But schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell said the board has the ability to waive those rules.

"I certainly believe he's warranted that kind of recognition," said Maxwell.

Did they have to make an exception for Parham who was and is still very much alive when the building was named for her in 2002?  In an email and some private conversations, I questioned the appropriateness of naming this public building after a two-0contractual term superintendent based mainly on the fact that Parham was still alive. Some thought my objection was racially motivated--even though I said the same thing about Miller's and Schaefer's buildings. I guess I was against old, Democratic, White men as well.

Had others not jumped so quickly to name the school board's office building after Parham, that building truly would be the fitting place to honor Philip L. Brown who devoted his entire life to help make our schools and teachers what they are today. He helped pave the way for Ms. Parham whose eight years here earned her a six-figure salary while Brown and other Black educators were paid less and whose segregated schools had less than White teachers and White Schools. Brown deserves at least as much--but probably a whole lot more. On the other hand, maybe having an actual school named in one's honor is preferable to having a school board building. After all, it's in the schools where the modestly-paid teachers teach and students learn but in office buildings, sometimes it seems as if there's a lot of highly paid people who just do a lot of administering.

LISTEN TO CP Publisher Paul Foer on 1430WNAV at 8:15 every weekday morning.
READ CP Publisher Paul Foer's "The Ninth Ward" every Wednesday in The Capital
JOIN US EACH THURSDAY 8-9 am for our Sip N' Blogs normally at ZU Coffee, 934 Bay Ridge Road in the Giant Shopping Center. Oct 29--Dave Cordle at Zu Coffee. Nov-5th--mayor-elect? Nov 12--stay tuned. Stop by on your way to work for your morning latte and meet other local activists. Zu now has a drive-through window!


blogger templates | Make Money Online