Utah School Named After Andrew Jackson Renamed to Honor NASA Engineer

A Utah school board voted to change the name of the oldest elementary school in its district from Andrew Jackson Elementary School to honor a NASA engineer with the same last name.

The Salt Lake City school board voted unanimously this week to change the school’s name from Andrew Jackson Elementary School to Mary Jackson Elementary School, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Mary Jackson was the first black woman to work as a NASA engineer in the 1950s, and her story was profiled in the movie Hidden Figures.

The elementary school would be the first Utah school to be named after a woman.

The school board mulled over changing the elementary school’s name for years but did not go through with it until it determined the majority of the community would support the change. Seventy-three percent of parents, alumni, and friends of the school supported the change before the vote.

“Some of my colleagues thought it was beyond offensive to have to go to a school named [for Andrew] Jackson,” Principal Jana Edward told the Tribune.

The school told the newspaper it prides itself on having a diverse population: 85 percent of students at the school are students from minority backgrounds.

Some people see Andrew Jackson as a controversial figure because he owned more than 100 slaves and implemented the “Trail of Tears” policy that forced Native Americans to relocate from their homes.

Others, however, see Jackson as a populist figure with an anti-establishment bent.

President Trump has praised Jackson as “an amazing figure in American history” and “unique in so many ways.”

The president hung a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office at the beginning of his term to honor the seventh U.S. president and paid tribute to the former president on his 250th birthday in March 2017.


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