(CBS DETROIT) – Cass Technical High school is a nationally recognized institution of excellence, but the name that the building bears holds a questionable place in history. And for that reason, many people say that the name should change while others say they don’t want to see a change at all.
“And we’re going to hold up his name for our best and brightest in Cass Tech? I think not. Let’s just change that,” said Community Activist Pastor Maurice Hardrick.
It’s the home of the green and white that sits on Second Street near I-75 in Detroit.
After many structural changes over the years, the name has remained the same for over a century.
“Too much of a problem. Too much of a disconnect that you have a high-performing, prestigious famous school with almost all black students named after a slave owner in the city of Detroit which is predominately black,” said Black Scroll Network Historian Jamon Jordan.
Across the country confederate monuments removed, and now people say the stain of Lewis Cass’ past as a slave owner must be erased by renaming the famed Cass Technical High School.
“Mississippi voted to remove the Confederate flag. Mississippi did that. The Woodrow-Wilson Foundation just agreed to change their name from the Woodrow-Wilson Foundation. So we see this is a different kind of time period. The state governor removed the Cass’ name from the Lewis Cass building in Lansing and replaced it with Elliot-Larsen,” said Jordan.
There is a petition on Chang.org to rededicate the school’s name to civil right’s leader Melnea Cass.
Organizers say this way the Cass Tech brand stands and Lewis Cass will no longer be honored.
“But let’s look to somebody who we actually can honor, who was a civil rights activist who worked tirelessly to desegregate schools,” said Reshounn Foster, Cass Tech Class of 1985.
“Though Cass Technical High school is what is on the sign, it is in dedication to a man who would not approve of us being in the halls of this school,” said Teresa Lee-Allen, Class of 1986.
But the name change proposal is getting blow back online from some graduates who want it to remain Lewis Cass Technical High School.
There’s also a petition on change.org to retain the name as is.
© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.