Atlanta Public Schools (APS) has officially renamed Brown Middle School to Herman J. Russell West End Academy.

The decision to rename the school after Russell, a prominent local businessman, was made because of his decades of activism and philanthropy in the West End. Russell was born and raised in the Summerhill neighborhood; he and his brother went on to create jobs in the city through their company H.J. Russell & Co.

The namesake of Brown Middle School was former Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown who notably supported secession and opposed the abolition of slavery.

This renaming is part of a larger trend across the south of having the names of former confederates and slaveholders removed from public buildings.

Earlier this summer APS changed the name of Grady High School to Midtown High School after a student-led campaign.

Henry Grady was a high-profile journalist throughout the reconstruction era and an avowed white supremacist.

According to an August report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, Georgia has the most schools named after Confederate leaders in the country.

There are currently 3 schools in the Atlanta Metro area named after Confederate leaders. Lanier High School and Lanier Middle School in Gwinnett County and Joseph Wheeler High School in Cobb County.

 

Atlanta Public Schools has officially renamed Brown Middle School to Herman J. Russell West End Academy. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Atlanta Public Schools)