Letter to the editor: Don’t rename it
To the editor:
I read with interest the letter from Gary Smith suggesting that we rename Pinckney school for Michelle Obama and her husband, Barack Obama.
Apart from the obvious fact that the Obamas have had no ties to Lawrence, Mr. Smith has mistakenly thought that Pinckney School was named for one of our Founding Fathers, Charles Pinckney, who signed the Declaration of Independence. Since Pinckney was a slave owner, Mr. Smith believes his name should be removed from the school and replaced by a new name.
The problem with renaming the school is that the school was only indirectly named for Mr. Pinckney. It was directly named for Pinckney Street, on which the school was built.
Originally Lawrence had north-south streets named after states. Those on the east side of town were named for the original 13 states, while those, west of Massachusetts, were named for the states that were later admitted to the Union after the original 13 colonies. The east-west cross streets, such as Pinckney, Winthrop, Hancock and others were named for the signers of the Declaration of Independence. This became cumbersome as Lawrence grew, so in the 1920s the east-west streets were renamed as numbered streets. Pinckney became Sixth Street, Winthrop became Seventh Street, etc.
Pinckney school has been in existence since the 1870s. As a graduate of Pinckney (kindergarten through sixth grade), I would be sorry to see its name replaced. But if it must be replaced, I would suggest that the correct new name be Sixth Street School. If history is to be erased, Sixth Street School should be the politically correct new name.