APS considers name change for school named after segregationist

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Board of Education is considering changing the name of a southwest Atlanta middle school named after a segregationist former Georgia governor.

Atlanta Public Schools just spent $17 million renovating Brown Middle School and as that was happening parents reached out to find out if the name could be change too.

The issue has set off a debate that some board members say is worth having.

“It does concern me,” APS Chairman Courtney English said.

English lives in southwest Atlanta. He says it may be time to change the name because of the segregationist views of the man the school is named after.

“We want our kids to be connected to the schools. We want them to have pride in their schools,” he said.

The school was founded in 1923 and named after Joseph E. Brown, who was Georgia’s governor during the Civil War.

“A segregationist and a slave owner as well. Those are the things that are written in history,” school board member Bryan Amos said.


English assembled a name change committee headed by Amos to take input from the community. He says he can understand why some parents have reached out to ask for a change.

“It does raise questions about our values, about the message we are trying to convey to our children,” English said.

But even as Amos looks into how much a name change would cost and what the new name could be, he says it’s not the only issue on his mind.

“I have problems inside the school,” he said. “We need to concentrate on our CRCT scores, enrollment, on actually getting our children into the building.”

Some who attended an APS community meeting said a name change won't change history.

“A name is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what a name is,” community activist Ahmad Taylor said.

The seven people name change committee will be taking input from the community at dates that have yet to be announced.