Week Six Blog: WHO ARE WE MEMORIALIZING? ( The Recent Resurgence of Monument Dismantling) – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week Six Blog: WHO ARE WE MEMORIALIZING? ( The Recent Resurgence of Monument Dismantling)

So, I have another Detroit current event…

My collaboration group knows how important education in the age of COVID-19 has been to me. I bring it up all the time! With a mother that served DPS (now DPSCD) for nearly 35 years, the students, parents, teachers, and administrators of DPS have a special place in my heart. Specifically, Cass Technical High School, technicians past and present have tremendously impacted my educational trajectory. Without the love and support I received in high school, I’m not sure where I would be. Cass Tech pride is something you will not find anywhere else in the world! However, there have been discussions of changing the Cass Tech name and I’m not sure how to feel. 

Recently, there has been a new wave of removing Confederate monuments and racist symbols in cities across the nation. Similarly in Michigan, Governor Whitmer has renamed the state office building in Lansing that was once named after Lewis Cass. Lewis Cass (1782-1866) was a former U.S. Secretary of State and governor of Michigan before it was an official state. Cass was a slave owner and participated in a system that accepted the ownership of enslaved African-Americans. With the recent resurgence of dismantling symbols of oppression, the name Cass Technical High School has been added to the discussion. The Detroit Free Press article provides more detailed information but, this topic of discussion has weighed heavily on my mind. 

While I believe the spirit of Cass Tech High School represents an ambitious, talented, and courageous group of marginalized Detroit students that against all odds succeeds time and time again, its original purpose of commemorating a man that supported racists systems is something we cannot ignore. I am still deciding if that history is enough to insist a name change of the place that played such an important role in my life. But, I want to know what you all think? Particularly, I would like to hear from the Cass alum about this discussion.

Le’Elle Davis (CT C/O ’17)



1 thought on “Week Six Blog: WHO ARE WE MEMORIALIZING? ( The Recent Resurgence of Monument Dismantling)”

  1. Hey Le’Elle,
    I totally agree with not knowing where I stand on changing Cass’s name because it holds so much weight all around the world just like U of M so it can be hard to let go of that legacy. But on the other hand, it makes no sense to have a predominantly black school to be named after a slave owner. Its just so many things to consider especially being a Cass Tech alum. I also saw there was conversation of naming it after Big Sean, but I personally don’t think he had enough contribution to have an entire school named after him in my opinion. I mean yea he donated a recording studio, but 90% o the student body have never seen the inside of that room. Anyway, I think renaming Cass is a long and hard decision in not only the choice to change it but who to change it with.

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