“We Did Not Belabor The Point”: San Fran Committee Calls For Renaming Abraham Lincoln High School

“We did not belabor the point.” No words better capture the lack of intellectual and historical content of much of the cancel culture sweeping the nation. It was the response of Jeremiah Jeffries, the Chair of the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee. The Committee has recommended the renaming of Abraham Lincoln High School as well as targeting the George Washington High School, Herbert Hoover Middle School and Paul Revere K-8.  Even an elementary school named after Dianne Feinstein is being targeted. This is not the first such effort around the country that focused on Lincoln. We recently discussed the effort of University of Wisconsin college students to remove the prominent statue of Lincoln on campus as not sufficiently “pro black”and a single-handed symbol of white supremacy.” 

Jeffries declared “Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.” This is the signer of the Emancipation Proclamation, the vocal advocate for the 13th Amendment, and the man assassinated for his war against the South and slavery.  The reason such culture cancel efforts succeed is that academics and others are intimidated from challenging such ahistorical and unhinged views.

Jeffries is a first-grade teacher who also co-founded Teachers 4 Change and Teachers 4 Social Justice. He has been a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders and Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. However, some liberal politicians like San Francisco Mayor London Breed have opposed the effort.

The  Committee emphasized Lincoln’s treatment of Native Americans, which we have previously discussed. One issue that was raised is that Lincoln ordered the execution of 38 Dakota men and signed the Homestead Act, which gave settlers land forcibly taken from Native Americans.

1904paintingAttackNewUlmAntonGagLincoln’s role in the Dakota executions is legitimately controversial but has been presented without some countervailing facts.  The Sioux or Dakota uprising occurred not long after Minnesota became a state and involved the death of hundreds of settlers.  The Army crushed the Sioux and captured hundreds.  A military tribunal sentenced 303 to death for alleged crimes against civilians and other crimes.  The trial itself was a farce with no real representation or reliable evidence.  Lincoln reviewed the transcripts of the 303 and told the Senate:

“Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I ordered a careful examination of the records of the trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females.”

However, only two men were found guilty of rape and Lincoln later expanded the criteria to include those who participated in “massacres” of civilians as opposed to battles with the Army.

Lincoln however commuted the sentence of 264 of the 303 convicted.

I have heavily criticized Lincoln for the unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus and the loss of free speech rights as well as other decisions. However, historical figures often have such conflicted elements that can be discussed and understood in context as we did recently with a pre-revolutionary hero.

Dianne Feinstein is being targeted because she allegedly flew a Confederate flag at City Hall when she was mayor. It is an ironic moment as those who have supported (or declined to condemn) the cancel culture become targets of it. As discussed earlier, As proven by the French Revolution, today’s revolutionaries are tomorrow’s reactionaries — or victims.  We also saw recently as Democrats called for blacklisting anyone “complicit” in the Trump years, including those connected with the Lincoln Project despite the vicious attacks launched by the Project  against Republicans.  Indeed, these hair-triggered attacks are why most academics have remained conspicuously silent in the face of a wholesale attack on free speech and academic freedom on our campuses.

In the case of Feinstein, her standing with the left seemed to plummet when she exhibited civility toward a Republican colleague by hugging Senate Judiciary Committee chair Lindsey Graham after the Barrett confirmation hearing. That simply hug sent the left into orbit and soon thereafter stories began to appear calling for her resignations and saying that she was no longer mentally competent.

What is striking is that Jeffries held out the possibility of a type of political reeducation for Feinstein:

“On a local level Dianne Feinstein chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice and inhumanity towards Black and Indigenous people at the City Hall.  She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of Black, First Nations and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far.”

Just for the record, flag allegation occurred decades ago. She was first elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969 — over 50 years ago.

80 thoughts on ““We Did Not Belabor The Point”: San Fran Committee Calls For Renaming Abraham Lincoln High School”

  1. Lincoln Truth: American Homogeneity.
    ______________________________

    Lincoln’s Fear of ‘Race War’

    A short time before his death on April 15, 1865, Lincoln met with General Benjamin F. Butler, who reported that the President spoke to him of “exporting” the Blacks.107

    “But what shall we do with the [blacks] after they are free?,” Lincoln said. “I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the [blacks] … I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves.” Along with a request to Butler to look into the question of how best to use “our very large navy” to send “the blacks away,” the President laid bare his fears for the future:

    If these black soldiers of ours go back to the South, I am afraid that they will be but little better off with their masters than they were before, and yet they will be free men. I fear a race war, and it will be at least a guerilla war because we have taught these men how to fight … There are plenty of men in the North who will furnish the [blacks] with arms if there is any oppression of them by their late masters.

    To his dying day, it appears, Lincoln did not believe that harmony between White and Black was feasible, and viewed resettlement of the Blacks as the preferable alternative to race conflict. ” … Although Lincoln believed in the destruction of slavery,” concludes Black historian Charles Wesley (in an article in The Journal of [Black] History), “he desired the complete separation of the whites and blacks. Throughout his political career, Lincoln persisted in believing in the colonization of the [blacks].”108

    Frederick Douglass, a gifted African American writer and activist who knew Lincoln, characterized him in a speech delivered in 1876:109

    In his interest, in his association, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man. He was preeminently the white man’s President, entirely devoted to the welfare of the white man. He was ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone, and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the [black] people, to promote the welfare of the white people of this country.

    Allan Nevins, one of this century’s most prolific and acclaimed historians of US history, summed up Lincoln’s view of the complex issue of race, and his vision of America’s future:110

    His conception ran beyond the mere liberation of four million [black] folk; it implied a far-reaching alteration of American society, industry, and government. A gradual planned emancipation, a concomitant transportation of hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of people overseas, a careful governmental nursing of the new colonies, and a payment of unprecedented sums to the section thus deprived of its old labor supply — this scheme carried unprecedented implications.

    To put this into effect would immensely increase the power of the national government and widen its abilities. If even partially practicable, it would mean a long step toward rendering the American people homogeneous in color and race, a rapid stimulation of immigration to replace the workers exported, a greater world position for the republic, and a pervasive change in popular outlook and ideas. The attempt would do more to convert the unorganized country into an organized nation than anything yet planned. Impossible, and undesirable even if possible? — probably; but Lincoln continued to hold to his vision.

    For most Americans today, Lincoln’s plan to “solve” America’s vexing racial problem by resettling the Blacks in a foreign country probably seems bizarre and utterly impractical, if not outrageous and cruel. At the same time, though, and particularly when considered in the context of the terrible Civil War that cost so many lives, it is worth pondering just why and how such a far-fetched plan was ever able to win the support of a leader of the stature and wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.

    – Robert Morgan

    1. That’s good stuff, it’s a wonder that people today raise up Lincoln without understanding he was a product of his time. Unfortunately your haphazard cut’n paste writing buries the facts of the quotations (are they?) of history in a disjointed ramble. For instance who the hell is Robert Morgan and why is he named here?

  2. The girl band, The Dixie Chicks, decided their name was racist so they dropped ‘Dixie’ and just call themselves Chicks now.

    I wonder what will happen when they find out ‘Chicks’ is sexist?

    Meet ‘The Anonymous Band Whose Preferred Pronouns Are. . .”

    There is no end to Wokeness.

    1. The correct comparison to claim there is no end to an more’ or ethic or other social demand, is to compare it’s extent to that which it opposes. In this case wokeness, compared to whatever the hell you wish to call it’s opposite, is trivial. Not endless, trivial.

  3. It’s interesting that Mr. Jeffries is a first-grade teacher. The entire American left seems to reason at a first-grade level at best. Perhaps Mr. Jeffries got his talking points from his students (via Zoom, of course). America has been, for far too long, a country that prides itself on its ignorance. We don’t even know where Iowa is, let alone can we locate China on a map. And we don’t care, as long as we get the new pumpkin spice-flavored iPhone. A country founded on rugged individualism has become a self-absorbed nation of nincompoops that puts its energy into social media and extreme sports and thinks that it means something while the rest of the world puts its energies into not starving to death. We as a nation are completely divorced from any kind of objective reality. Perhaps Mr. Jeffries would like to name schools after Boko Haram. They care about black lives, especially as they are raping teenage girls and burying dissenters up to the neck and then stoning them to death. Fun fact: most of those girls never made it home. I don’t know where this will lead. If what we are experiencing is the wrath of God, we certainly deserve it. We have stood by – left, right, center, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and atheist – and watched as abomination after abomination became “the new normal.” In a civilized society, you are going to have some form of abortion. But abortion up to and beyond the point of birth is an abomination. There is no other word for it, there is no justification for it. This is not right vs. left anymore. This is the light vs. the void. Pick a side.

  4. Yeah, column subject is BS and stupid.

    Meanwhile:

    Percentage of popular vote:

    Romney, 2012: 47.2%
    Trump, 2020: 46.9%
    Trump, 2016: 46.1%

    1. What do those voting figures have to do with the article? Are you suggesting that because the cancel culture mob helped to win the popular vote in 2020 that their ignorance of history is justified?

      1. Sadly the poster is no better at math than reading and does not look at the actual votes cast. Pointless to explain anything to them or point out Trump got more votes in 2016 than Obama did in 2012.

    2. This is America under the dominion of the Constitution.

      The national popular vote does not bear on a presidential election, while the popular vote in 50 several States, which generates electors, does.

      Indeed, the American Founders did not allow and did not intend for men “…esteemed to have no will of their own…” to vote, as their republic provided the vote to “entitled” citizens.
      ______________________________________________________________

      “the people are nothing but a great beast…

      I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

      – Alexander Hamilton
      _________________

      “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

      “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

      – Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775
      ______________________________________

      Communists don’t vote, communists don’t have elections and communists are not bound by the U.S. Constitution.

      You are an anti-Constitution, anti-American communist.

      You are for the “dictatorship of the proletariat” derived from artificial, show elections which deliver all power to the self-imagined “intellectual elite.”

      No one in history has hypothesized or conjectured regarding the probability of efficacious governance by the truly elite intellectuals, the denizens of the Theoretical Physics Department, who might reveal “entanglement,” quantum mechanics or a unified field, while, simultaneously, adopting and expounding on a strategy of eschewing socks.

      Intellectual superiority is not the thesis.

      Freedom is.

      You are the enemy.

  5. The rewriting of history is an important topic.We are so focused on Trump ad Biden that we do not see the grime that is eroding our foundation and our identity as a country…which seems to be the plan all along.

    1. Making generic insubstantial claims like yours is a hobby of narrow minds, and in part what forces online commentary to follow Sturgeon’s Law.

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks
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