Love not Haight: San Francisco school changes its name

The board of Haight Elementary approved the name change by five votes to zero
The board of Haight Elementary approved the name change by five votes to zero

A US school named Haight after a governor who espoused racist views is changing its name to Love Elementary.

Haight Elementary in San Francisco was named after Henry Huntly Haight, who in 1867 said allowing Asian Americans and African Americans to vote would “corrupt” political power in the US.

The school let the community choose a new name and settled on Love, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

This week, the school board approved the name change by five votes to zero.

In his 1867 gubernatorial inauguration speech for California governor, Haight spoke out against giving Asian Americans and African Americans the right to vote “upon a conviction of the evils which would result to the whole country from corrupting the source of political power with elements so impure”.

He also referred to Asians as a “servile, effeminate and inferior race” and claimed giving them the vote would “pollute and desecrate” the democratic “heritage” of white Americans.

Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said Haight’s views and name have no place at an elementary school.

“We must remember and learn our history,” Mr McPhetridge said.

“Everybody understood that the name could not stand. Haight could not stand. Love prevailed.”

The name will be scrapped from signs, stationery and the building itself.

The move comes against the backdrop of a national debate around Confederate monuments. Last week, a school board in California voted to begin the process of renaming the Dixie School District because of its Confederate connotation.