/Across America Briefs | | phillytrib.com (via Qpute.com)
Across America Briefs | | phillytrib.com

Across America Briefs | | phillytrib.com (via Qpute.com)

Research identifies school for Black children

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — William & Mary and Colonial Williamsburg are teaming up to preserve the legacy of an 18th Century school that was dedicated to the education of enslaved and free Black children in Virginia.

The museum and university said in a news release on Thursday that the small, white building will be moved from the school’s campus to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.

The university said that the Bray-Digges House is likely the oldest building still in existence in the U.S. that was dedicated to the education of Black children. Colonial Williamsburg researchers analyzed the building’s wood framing last year to confirm that it once housed the school

The partnership also establishes the Williamsburg Bray School Initiative. It will use the site as a focal point for research and discussions over the complicated story of race, religion and education in America.

— The Associated Press

Confederate flag controversy roils middle schoolNORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Students at a Massachusetts middle school rallied Wednesday in support of their principal, who has faced backlash for asking students to stop displaying Confederate flags in class.

About 200 students, teachers and other community members gathered outside JFK Middle School in Northampton in support of Principal Desmond Caldwell. They held signs saying “Hate has no home in our school” and “Yes there is racism here,” The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

The rally came after the creation of a Facebook page called “JFK White Student Union.” The page displays Confederate flag images and called Caldwell an “anti-American tyrant” who was trying to “erode our constitutional rights” in a post, the newspaper reported.

— The Associated Press

Tennessee State joins IBM center for education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee State University has joined the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center, the nation’s first quantum education and research initiative for historically Black colleges and universities, the school said.

The center is designed to help students and faculty build skills in quantum computing and increase diversity in the field, the school said in a news release.

“The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center partnership helps TSU prepare our students and faculty to be innovators in this field,” Tennessee State President Glenda Glover said. “It is an absolute game-changer when we consider our current climate and how research could lead to new discoveries in medicine and drug development.”

Tennessee State is one of 10 institutions that are new to the center, which includes 23 HBCUs.

— The Associated Press

Committee presents proposals for future of statueALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A committee in western Michigan has proposed replacing a statue of a Union soldier and Confederate soldier back to back with a slave child kneeling between them with an obelisk or column inscribed with phrases and viewpoints from the Civil War era.

Other proposals made Monday in Allendale Township include replacing the entire statue with a commemoration to Black Civil War soldier Benjamin Jones or erecting Plexiglas panes around the statue inscribed with historical context of the war, the Holland Sentinel reported.

No action on the proposals was taken by the Allendale Township board. Allendale Township is west of Grand Rapids.

Calls for the statue to come down began last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and anti-police brutality protests around the country.

Township trustees voted in June to keep the statue at a veterans’ park. The committee then was formed to recommend possible changes.

The majority of committee members called for the statue’s removal or replacement, while others said the monument is meant to honor those on both sides who fought and died in the Civil War, the newspaper reported.

“I struggle to reconcile with the current Civil War statue because of what it depicts,” committee member Tumaini Sango said.

— The Associated Press

Washington Capitol to honor pioneer with monumentOLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Capitol will receive a new monument honoring the state’s first Black pioneer George Bush and his son, William Owen Bush, who was the state’s first Black lawmaker.

The state Department of Enterprise Services, which oversees the Capitol Campus, announced Tuesday that the monument is a collaboration between the department and the Washington State Historical Society, KUOW-FM reported.

“This is a great step forward in recognizing and celebrating the diversity and spirit that shaped Washington,” department Director Chris Liu said.

Bush, who was biracial, helped lead white families that left Missouri in 1844 along the Oregon Trail. Missouri was a slave state at the time and was forcing free Black people like Bush to leave. Bush and his fellow pioneers — known as the Bush-Simmons party — intended to stay in present-day Oregon but learned there were Black exclusionary laws. The group instead settled in 1845 along the Deschutes River in what is now Tumwater, Washington.

“The Bush family found success and prosperity in their new home. They worked the land as farmers and raised award-winning wheat, traded with local Indigenous people, built (a) sawmill and began a small logging operation,” according to online history records from the department.

The Bush family and their companions were the first non-Indigenous people to settle in the area, more than 40 years before Washington became a state.

Bush died in 1863. He was 73. His oldest son William, who went by his middle name Owen, became a member of the inaugural state Legislature in 1889. He helped found Washington State University.

The monument, dedicated to Bush and his son, will include a bronze plaque mounted on a 30-inch tall granite pedestal. The plaque credits Bush with helping to establish the “first non-Indigenous American settlement in Washington.”

The monument is expected to receive funding through an appropriation made by the state Legislature last year to celebrate Black history in Washington state. The installment could happen as early as this summer.

— The Associated Press

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