PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The name of a Peoria school will change from Thomas Jefferson to a civil rights activist.
The school board unanimously dropped Jefferson during a meeting Monday night. The school will be known as C.T. Vivian Primary School, starting July 1, the Peoria Journal Star reported.
“We think that the name change is something that needs to happen when our children start reading about the history of Thomas Jefferson, and the kinds of things he did with his slaves and things that were happening at that time,” said Ernestine Jackson, a member of the Peoria NAACP.
Vivian, who died in 2020, staged sit-ins against segregation in Peoria in the 1940s, a dozen years before lunch-counter protests by college students made national news. He was a key adviser to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“He was a man of passion, a man of integrity. He was a man who cared about people, all people,” Jackson said.
Peoria is considering possible changes at other schools named for aviator Charles Lindbergh, George Washington and Calvin Coolidge.