SILVER SPRING, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to change the name of Colonel Edward Brooke Lee Middle School to Odessa Shannon Middle School. The process of changing the name took over a year.
The idea to change the name was put in place to better represent the students who attend the middle school. “Lee has a deeply disturbing racist history,” said the board in a statement.
Colonel Lee represented Montgomery County in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1927. During that time he worked to prevent African Americans from buying homes.
Odessa Shannon, the new namesake of the middle school, was an African American mathematician and pioneer. She was also the first black woman to serve as an elected official in Montgomery County.
“Our goal was to bring healing and to address the issues between the values of the board of education, and the school’s name,” said Kimberly Hayden-Williams, principal of Odessa Shannon Middle School.