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)