GREENVILLE, S.C. — A student wants to a new name for her South Carolina high school that honors a prominent Civil War general.
A student identified only as Asha Marie at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville County told local media the school should not be named for one of the South’s largest slaveholders.
“Honoring a man who owned and fought to keep students’ ancestors enslaved and oppressed is not only inappropriate, but immoral,” the 16-year-old student said.
Hampton was a Confederate cavalry commander during the Civil War and was later elected governor of South Carolina and criticized the Reconstruction era which put black leaders in political office.
More than 1,000 people have signed the petition at change.org calling for a new name.
Marie suggested that former Greenville Mayor Max Heller would be a more appropriate person to be honored with the school’s name. Heller led efforts in the 1970s to revitalize downtown Greenville.
More than 2,000 have signed a petition to keep the name.
“You look at what Wade Hampton has done for the community,” said Lynda Leventis-Wells, who graduated from the high school, coached basketball there and now represents the school on the Greenville school district’s board. She opposes a change.
A school board spokeswoman says the board has not received any petitions. She said it would require a move by state lawmakers to rename the school. That provision was written into law when South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from the top of the Statehouse in 2000.