Atlanta’s Brown Middle School needs new name, committee says

Brown Middle School, which was named after former Georgia Gov. Joseph E. Brown, is shown in this AJC file photo from 2015.

An Atlanta school board committee wants Joseph Emerson Brown Middle School to be renamed.

The West End middle school bears the name of the secessionist Georgia governor who opposed slavery’s abolition. Earlier this year, board Chairman Jason Esteves formed the committee to review renaming the school.

During a Wednesday meeting, committee members said they supported giving the school a new name. They will spend the next few weeks gathering input about options before making a recommendation to the full school board, which must approve any name change.

“I am for the name change of Brown Middle School, and I know that may be a shocker to some,” said principal Tiauna Crooms, who serves on the committee. “We’re not trying to erase our past because we represent our past.”

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Some alumni and neighborhood residents wanted to keep the name and more than 1,000 people signed an online petition opposing the change. About four years ago, officials discussed renaming the school but decided not to.

Another APS naming committee decided in August that the name of Henry W. Grady High School should be changed. That committee plans to meet next week to recommend a name to the school board.

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