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If Schools Drop Confederate Names, Would District Consider Asian-American Names as Replacements?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News
The Austin Independent School District may reconsider names of high schools honoring Confederate figures, like John H. Reagan.

The discussion over whether to rename Austin schools named after Confederate figures probably won’t be decided until the end of this year, but one city commission already has a list of names they’d like the school district to consider.

Austin’s Asian-American Quality of Life Commission has got a running list of names, some of which include:

  • Grace Lee Boggs, a Detroit-based, Chinese-American activist and author of “Revolution and Evolution in the Twentieth Century.”
  • Dalip Singh Saund, the first Indian-American to be elected to the House of Representatives.
  • Larry Itliong, a Filipino-born farmworker and labor organizer who worked alongside Cesar Chavez

Richard Jung chairs the commission and says, with the school district considering whether to rename at least four schools, he and others in the Asian-American community see an opportunity. According to City Demographer Ryan Robinson, Asian-Americans are the fastest growing minority group in Austin, with their numbers doubling each decade. Jung says naming a school after a prominent Asian-American leader would better represent those living in Austin, and could be a first for Texas.

“In Texas, we haven’t been able to find one,” says Jung. “And so this would be kind of a landmark move and one that I think is probably long overdue for Texas.”

Jung says he and the commission have zeroed in on Lanier High School, named after Confederate soldier Sydney Lanier. The school reports that roughly three percent of its student population is Asian. Jung admits that this number’s low, but that the community isn’t typically factored into discussions of these kinds.

“Whenever naming of schools or any other significant event happens, are Asian-Americans even considered, does anyone bring that up? And the answer has been no.”

The AISD Board of Trustees says it won’t decide whether to rename those schools bearing Confederate names until the end of this year.

The Asian-American Quality of Life Commission will consider nominations for possible school names at its meeting tonight.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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