SF school swaps out name of racist Calif. governor

May 19, 2011 - 6:59 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For decades, a San Francisco preschool in an underserved, predominantly black neighborhood bore the name of California's first governor.

Problem is, Peter Burnett was a staunch racist who supported the exclusion of blacks from the state and the extermination of Native Americans.

A local civil rights leader recently uncovered those details of Burnett's tenure from 1849 to 1851 and took it to the Board of Education. The board voted unanimously last month to rename the school, located in the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood.

Local NAACP chapter president Rev. Amos Brown says that by dropping Burnett's name, San Francisco is "getting away from a vestige of our dark past."

On Thursday, local education officials, families and community activists are rededicating the school to the city's first female African-American principal, Leola Havard.