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GROSKAUFMANIS | Framing History

This September, students in my old school district in Virginia returned to a newly named Justice High School — previously J.E.B. Stuart High. Same walls and infrastructure; new decorations, sports uniforms and absence of Confederate memorialization. Stuart, the dethroned-honoree-in-question, was a Confederate general who fought to maintain slavery. The name change, which neutralizes the school’s explicit nod to Confederate history, was the subject of a long, arduous debate that is still ongoing, according to the nearly 200 comments on the Washington Post’s most recent coverage. From one end, this name adjustment is read as an attempt to rewrite history, a pandering to political correctness.

BANKS | To Whom I Owe My Artistic Wanderlust

No one other than James Baldwin could have ever hoped to deliver a proper eulogy to James Baldwin, but I find it incredibly ironic that my namesake ended up accepting the mantle. Amiri Baraka was an embattled and deeply flawed artist, and in reading his work, I have often found myself rapidly vacillating between vehement disapproval and mesmerized admiration. What he had to say about the man I aspire to be like, though, elicited neither of these responses. “Jimmy Baldwin created [contemporary American speech] so we could speak to each other at unimaginable intensities of feeling, so we could make sense to each other at higher and higher tempos,” wrote Baraka. For most anyone else, words like these would serve as poetic and profound excerpts from a worthy homage.