PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The Pender County Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a name restoration for Burgaw Elementary to C.F. Pope Elementary School at a meeting Tuesday, September 8.
The school was originally called C.F. Pope Elementary during times of segregation; it was changed to Burgaw Elementary School once the school became integrated in 1970.
Recently, a group of C.F. Pope alumni signed a petition to get the name changed back.
“I don’t view this as changing the name of the school, I view it as restoring history,” said vice chair Ken Smith. “It is a way we keep our history alive and active.”
Cicero Franklin Pope was an African-American Baptist minister and principal for 38 years in the education system.
“Remembering history is such an important thing to do,” said Pender County Board of Education Chairman Don Hall. “The name C.F. Pope still brings pride to so many in our community, but that generation is getting older. Making sure the next generation understands why C.F. Pope is so important to our history in Pender County is crucial.”
Founded in 1891, the school operated under several different names, including the Burgaw Institute and Burgaw Colored High School, before becoming C.F. Pope High School in 1952.
Also, there was an amendment change to the agenda to discuss releasing the findings of the racial investigation.
Before board members went into a closed session, chairman Don Hall said the report from the “N-word” investigation will be released Wednesday.