Texas high school athlete writes powerful letter about why she won’t wear her school’s name, Robert E. Lee, on her shirt

Now, she says nothing more and demands a change.

In a recent letter to the school board, Lamb wrote that he would no longer wear the school shirt, which is stamped with “Tyler Lee.” Tyler represents the Tyler Independent School District located in the city of Tyler, Texas, and Lee represents the name of the school, Robert E. Lee High School.

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

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

Lamb added that Lee glorifies himself even more in the school’s alma mater, which in part says, “Robert E. Lee, we raise our voices in praise of your name. May honor and glory lead you to fame.”

“What have you done to be praised in that way?” Lamb said of Lee, a Confederate general who owned slaves.

Community members have tried to pressure the school board to change the name of the high school earlier in 2018. But after no one seconded the motion at the school board meeting, he was unable to go anywhere, according to reports. from the local media.
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Now that Lamb’s letter and other students pledged not to use Lee’s name, the movement to rename the school has been brought to the fore again.

A petition calling for the school’s name change has more than 10,000 signatures, and some have also called for the name of another school in the district, John Tyler High School, to be changed. John Tyler, the tenth president of the United States, worked to create the Southern Confederacy, according to the White House.

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

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

The topic of changing school names was not on the agenda, but Lamb, who emigrated from Ghana in 2014, signed up to read her letter at the meeting.

“I am from Ghana, Africa, where slavery began,” says Lamb’s letter. “I stood in the dungeons of the slave castle and saw the three-foot urine stains and feces on the walls where my brothers and sisters were kept. I have seen the small hole in the upper part of the roof where they would throw food. captured souls. ”

“I love and enjoy the sports I play (Robert E. Lee),” Lamb wrote, but added, “You can’t play sports, support and go to a school named after a person who was against my people here in the United States. (Lee) owned slaves and did not believe that people like me were 100% human. ”

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

Wade Washmon, chairman of the board of the Tyler Independent School District, said in a statement Monday that he hopes summer is a time for the board to discuss this matter further. But Lamb said the board has not responded to his letter.

“We as a board are very aware of the issues surrounding the names of our two iconic high schools. We have heard and hope to hear more from the community on the subject. This time, between school years, hopefully it will be used to discuss and find meaningful consensus and resolution in a unified way, “Washmon said.

For Laura Owens, Lamb’s adoptive mother, this statement is not enough. If the school’s name is not changed before the school year begins, Owens said she and other parents are exploring filing a civil rights violation lawsuit.

And until the name is changed, Lamb and the other top three riders on his team have vowed not to use Lee’s name on their jerseys.

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

Read Lamb’s full letter:

I am one of you (r) true first generation African and African American students at REL. I am from Ghana, Africa, where slavery started. I came to the United States in 2014. I stood in the dungeons of the slave castle and saw the three-foot urine stains and feces on the walls where my brothers and sisters were kept. I have seen the small hole at the top of the roof where food would be thrown to the captured souls. I walked through the “Door of No Return” where more than 12 million of my brothers and sisters were kidnapped, never to return home. I have worked the same fields and brought water for my family from the same places where they kidnapped my people.

I love and enjoy the sports I practice at REL. I can’t play sports, support, and go to a school named after a person who was against my people here in the United States. I owned slaves and didn’t think people like me were 100% human, much less go to my high school. I can’t stand it and I will no longer use your name on my race jersey. I’m currently the fastest girl on your college cross country team. I took that place my ninth grade year and plan to do the same for my tenth grade year.

I do not see the future of remembering a person who did nothing for our country and who did not care about me or my people. He continues to tear down our city.

As one of your black students, I respectfully ask you to broach the subject of the REL name change. Vote to change the name, not “Tyler LEE” but someone we can all be proud of. Using the excuse that it would be too expensive is not right. This city was built on the backs of my enslaved brothers and sisters. Do it in his memory and honor the future of his ancestors who are in REL.

I hope you understand where I come from.


Gertrude “Trude” A. Cordero