CMS discusses fate of Barringer Academic Center’s name

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools talked about the name of Barringer Academic Center Wednesday night.

The school was built in the 1950s and named after Osmond L. Barringer, a “the very remarkable man who developed the Revolution Park neighborhood later to be named after him,” according to the school’s website.

Reporter Elsa Gillis researched who the school was named for and learned that while Osmond Barringer donated the land, the school was actually named after his father and brother, according to school board chair Elyse C. Dashew and local historian Tom Hanchett.

[Vance High School renamed in honor of civil rights attorney Julius L. Chambers]

A 1952 clipping from the Charlotte Observer shows that “Charlotte’s newest school” was named for Gen. Rufus Barringer and his son, Dr. Paul Brandon Barringer.

Rufus Barringer was a general for the Confederate Calvary.

Paul Barringer was a strong proponent of eugenics, a racist and discredited science that includes selective breeding.

That bit of history is detailed on the University of Virginia’s website where Paul Barringer was a faculty member.

Osman L. Barringer helped lead a white supremacy parade, according to Charlotte News and Charlotte Observer clippings from 1900.

“I think it’s important that CMS is understanding the sensitivity of having slave owners, racist white supremacists and historically white folks, who’ve harmed black people names removed from the schools,” said Corine Mack, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg NAACP. “I think it’s time that we begin to uplift Black people in ways that we haven’t in this country. I think that we need to be intentional on how we do that and one of the ways that we do it that is begin to look at all of the systems that are racist systems and how do we dismantle these system? (A) good start is changing the names.”

The board recommended it explores a different name for the academy.

No formal action was taken.