Texas high school athlete writes powerful letter on why she won’t wear the name of her school — Robert E. Lee — on her jersey

Now, she’s saying no more and is demanding change.

In a current letter to the school board, Lamb wrote that she would no longer wear the school’s jersey, which can be emblazoned with “Tyler Lee.” Tyler stands for the Tyler Independent School District located in the city of Tyler, Texas, and Lee stands for the school’s name, Robert E. Lee High School.

Sure, Tyler Lee isn’t exactly Lee’s full name, but it’s “still his name,” Lamb said.

“It’s just a shorter version of Robert E. Lee. It still reminds me of who he was,” the 16-year-old told CNN.

Lamb added that Lee is glorified much more in the school’s alma mater, which in part says, “Robert E. Lee we raise our voice in praise of your name. May honor and glory e’er guide you to fame.”

“What has he done for him to be praised like that?” Lamb said of Lee, a Confederate general who owned slaves.

Community members have tried to push the school board to alter the name of the high school before in 2018. But after nobody seconded the motion at the school board meeting, it did not go anywhere, according to local media reports.

Now with Lamb’s letter along with other students pledging not to wear Lee’s name, the movement to change the school’s name has been brought to the forefront once more.

A petition calling for the renaming of the school has over 10,000 signatures plus some have also required the name of yet another school in the district — John Tyler High School — to be changed. John Tyler, the tenth US President, worked to create the Southern Confederacy, according to the White House.

On Monday evening, dozens of protesters gathered outside the school district’s administration office as the school board held a meeting inside.

Protestors stand outside the building where the school board met on Monday, June 22.

The issue of changing the schools’ names wasn’t on the agenda, but Lamb, who immigrated from Ghana in 2014, registered to read her letter at the meeting.

“I am from Ghana, Africa where slavery first began,” Lamb’s letter reads. “I have stood in the dungeons of the slave castle and seen the three foot urine and feces stains on the walls where my brothers and sisters were kept. I’ve seen the tiny hole at the top of the ceiling where they would throw food in to the captured souls.”

“I love and enjoy the sports I play at (Robert E. Lee),” Lamb wrote, but she added that she “can’t be playing sports, supporting, and going to a school that was named after a person who was against my people right here in the United States. (Lee) owned slaves and didn’t believe people like me were 100% human.”

Lamb asked that the school board perhaps not change the name to “Tyler LEE” but after “someone who we can all be proud of.”

Wade Washmon, board president of the Tyler Independent School District, said in a statement Monday that he hopes the summer will be a time when the board discusses this matter further. But Lamb said the board has not taken care of immediately her letter.

“We as a board are well aware of the issues surrounding the names of both of our flagship high schools. We have heard from, and anticipate hearing more, from the community on the subject. This time in between school years will hopefully be used to discuss, and find both consensus and meaningful resolution in a unified manner,” Washmon said.

For Laura Owens, Lamb’s adopted mother, this statement isn’t enough. If the school’s name isn’t changed before the school year begins, Owens said she along with other parents are exploring filing a lawsuit with regard to violation of civil legal rights.

And until the name is usually changed, Lamb and the other best three joggers on her team have pledged to not wear Lee’s name on their shorts.

Trude Lamb (left) and Hewan Knight, another elite runner who has pledged to not wear Lee's name.

Read Lamb’s letter completely:

I am a single of you(r) true African and first generation African American learners at COMPAR. I am coming from Ghana, Africa where captivity first started out. I reached America inside 2014. I possess stood inside the dungeons of the slave fort and noticed the about three foot a stream of pee and waste stains on the surfaces where our brothers and sisters had been kept. I’ve seen the tiny opening at the top of the threshold where they might throw foods in to the captured spirits. I’ve wandered through the “Gate of No Return” exactly where over 12 million of my littermates were abducted never to go back to their house. I have proved helpful the really fields plus fetched drinking water for my loved ones from the very locations my individuals were kidnapped.

I adore and enjoy the sports We play in REL. Constantly be actively playing sports, helping, and gonna a school that was given its name a person who had been against our people here in the United States. He owned or operated slaves plus didn’t consider people with this problem were 100% human aside from ever head to my really high school. I cannot carry and will will no longer wear their name on my competition jersey. I’m currently the fastest lady on your current varsity cross-country team. We held of which place our 9th level year plus plan to do the same our 10th level year.

I avoid see a long term of recalling a person who do nothing for the country plus who did not care for myself or our people. He continues to provide our town down.

As a single of your current black learners, I’m pleasantly asking you to consider the COMPAR name alter issue. Please vote to alter the name, not to “Tyler LEE” but right after someone who all of us can be very pleased of. Using the reason that it can be too expensive, is not really okay. This town had been built on the back of our enslaved siblings. Do this in their storage and recognize the long term of their own ancestors which are at COMPAR.

I hope you realize where We are coming from.

Sincerely,

Gertrude “Trude” A new. Lamb

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