Renaming Polk Elementary in Fresno ignores the former president’s contributions to America

If the woke Left had its way, 9 of he first 11 president os the United States would have their names struck from the history books—instead put into the book of evil people.  Washington, Jefferson, Madison up to James Polk were all slave owners, hence must be made to disappear from the history books.

Even Fresno is now getting into the act.  In the future if you supported equality, as Dr. Martin Luther King did, it would be evidence you need to be wiped out of history.

This is what a Fresno government school district wants to ignore:

“Texas was admitted to the Union. It wasn’t easy. Northern resistance to another slave state was fierce. It enraged Mexico and led eventually to war. With Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott in military control of Mexico, the U.S. might have claimed the entire country. Instead, in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, it settled for all or parts of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, and paid Mexico $15 million.

Meanwhile, the U.S. was nearly at war with Britain over the Oregon Territory, far larger than the state of Oregon itself. Polk compromised and settled on the 49th parallel, acquiring Oregon and setting the northern boundaries of Washington, Idaho and Montana.

By the end of his four years in office, “manifest destiny” was achieved, the goal of extending the nation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.”

Think our kids are getting an honest education?

Renaming Polk Elementary in Fresno ignores the former president’s contributions to America

By Donald R. Slinkard, Fresno Be,,  11/28/21 

The idea of changing the name of the James K. Polk Elementary School because he owned slaves is pretty silly when you consider that every president before him owned slaves — every one of them but for John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are said to have owned 600 each. Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison and Tyler owned human beings. Polk owned and traded slaves for profit. That’s what Southern men of means did.

Despite his misdeeds, I am an admirer of President Polk because he accomplished much and is little recognized. He was the strongest of the eight presidents between Jackson and Lincoln. Kudos to the Central Unified School District for its awareness of what Polk brought about.

Texas was admitted to the Union. It wasn’t easy. Northern resistance to another slave state was fierce. It enraged Mexico and led eventually to war. With Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott in military control of Mexico, the U.S. might have claimed the entire country. Instead, in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, it settled for all or parts of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, and paid Mexico $15 million.

Meanwhile, the U.S. was nearly at war with Britain over the Oregon Territory, far larger than the state of Oregon itself. Polk compromised and settled on the 49th parallel, acquiring Oregon and setting the northern boundaries of Washington, Idaho and Montana.

By the end of his four years in office, “manifest destiny” was achieved, the goal of extending the nation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Polk served seven terms in the House of Representatives and was speaker before becoming governor of Tennessee. He was president from 1845 to 1849. He had four goals — lowering tariffs, acquiring California, establishing an independent treasury and settling the Oregon dispute — and accomplished them all.

California was admitted to the Union as a free state on Sept. 9, 1850. It was a quickie process because, among other reasons, gold had been discovered in 1848. There were no contiguous states; the nearest was Texas.

In my childhood that date was a legal holiday. It was observed at school, there were parades and pageants. In time, the fuss faded, and in 1984 the state Legislature eliminated it as a legal holiday.

A dozen years ago in Tennessee, I visited Polk’s grave on the grounds of the state capitol in Nashville. It’s a modest tomb that could fit in most living rooms. It is fitting that Central Unified named a school for him, despite having been a slave owner.

So if Polk’s name on a school goes, where does it end? All but two of his predecessors were bondsmen. Do we start with the name of the nation’s capital itself? I thought eliminating Fresno High’s symbol of an Indian warrior was unnecessary. It depicted a noble Warrior, the school’s nickname. There was nothing degrading about it.

Cleveland’s baseball team was obliged to drop its Indians nickname, while Atlanta’s high-flying Braves chop on with their symbolic tomahawk, a deadly weapon.

If something must be changed, let it be Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish. I can no longer tolerate calling Irishmen hooligans and brawlers.

Donald R. Slinkard is a retired managing editor of The Bee.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

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