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CMS elementary school renamed to honor activist born into slavery, Charles H. Parker

The Oct. 6 renaming ceremony is part of an effort to make sure all students feel welcome at CMS schools.
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:15 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2021 at 12:39 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A Charlotte-Mecklenburg School received a new name on Wednesday.

Barringer Elementary School has become Charles H. Parker Academic Center. The Oct. 6 renaming ceremony was part of an effort to make sure all students feel welcome at CMS schools.

The name change stems from the current namesake, Osmond L Barringer, having ties to white supremacy dating back to the late 1800′s. The Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board voted in April to change the name of this school and several others.

Related: CMS votes to rename Barringer Academic Center as Charles H. Parker Academic Center

The new name, the Charles H. Parker Academic Center, is in honor of a historical visionary in the black community. Parker was an activist who was born into slavery who helped build the West Boulevard area and was a bishop at Moore’s Sanctuary AME Zion Church.

There was an upbeat celebration inside the school Wednesday morning for the renaming of the school.

School officials say their “new story” is starting now.

Students at the school embraced the new name.

Parker’s great-granddaughter praised the school for acknowledging Parker’s legacy.

“An innovator, a person who made new tracks in places that had not been traveled before,” Dr. Valeria Avery said. “We give praise and glory to our heavenly Father for our Charles H. Parker’s life.”

CMS officials said Parker’s children helped build affordable housing on his homestead.

This is not the first school re-naming in the district. Vance High School recently became Julius L. Chambers High School, named for an iconic civil rights attorney.

Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Parker’s great-granddaughter will be in attendance, along with local leaders and the CMS superintendent.

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