Abilene community members suggest new names for two AISD elementary schools

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The abilene community members came together to announce their suggestions to rename elementary schools currently named for confederate leaders.

“We’re here to put the nominations of Robert and Sammye Stafford for Johnston elementary and Robert B. Hayden for Robert E. Lee Elementary,” says Demetrius Earthly, president of the Juneteenth Party.

Other community leaders also spoke before the crowd at the Abilene Public Library in Downtown.

“In the vast populations of both Lee and Johnston there is over 65% of a total campus with over black and hispanics,” says Zach Mosley.

AISD decided earlier this year that they would consider new names for 4 schools in the district.

“Its our turn to name the schools,” says Dr. A.C. Jackson, a local historian.

Jackson created a petition and selected the names to be nominated back in January.

“We’re saying you have to recognize the foundation and what they did in 1938 secured our role to go to college. That is basic contribution of Robert and Sammye Stafford and Mr. Hayden,” says Dr. Jackson.

Robert Stafford was Abilene ISD Teacher of the year back in 1958,

His wife, Sammye Stafford was the first african american to graduate from McMurry University.

“Raymond B Hayden was the first black coach in Abilene, Texas. He coached the Abilene bulldogs and the Abilene black eagles,” says Earthly.

Hayden was also the longest serving principal of Cater G. Woodson, Abilene’s all black school from 1940 to 1967.

The names were officially submitted to the AISD board of trustees, Monday.

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