Story at a glance

  • The high school famous for inspiring the film “Remember the Titans” will remove the name of a segregationist from its title.
  • School board members voted unanimously on Monday to remove former superintendent T.C. Williams from the name.

The famous high school that served as the starring subject in the 2000 hit football film “Remember the Titans” will change its name, becoming the latest U.S. institution to shed its past links to problematic historical figures.

T.C. Williams High School, located in Alexandria, Va., voted unanimously on Monday during a school board meeting to remove Williams as the school namesake, the Los Angeles Times reports

He served as the superintendent of Alexandria public school system from the 1930s until 1963 and opposed integration in schools following the landmark Supreme Court ruling on Brown vs. the Board of Education.

“It was not easy, but we’re here,” Alexandria board member Heather Thornton, who is Black, told The Washington Post. “I’m very, very happy to be part of this history — of Alexandria City Public Schools history.”

The current Superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings Jr. will bring a list of new names forward by the spring semester. 

“This is a historic moment for everybody,” Hutchings, a Black man, told reporters. “For many years, people have been trying to change the name of T.C. Williams, and they really have not been successful.”

The name change met opposition from people who wanted to preserve the link to the “Titans” film, which tells the story of an undefeated integrated football team in the 1970s, led by a Black coach. 

Supporters of the name-change countered that keeping the name honors segregationists and does not reflect the values of the school’s modern and diverse student body. 

Following the civil rights protests this summer decrying the police deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, two Black Americans, multiple municipalities have elected to remove or change statues and names that make a reference to the history of slavery and institutional racism characterizing much of the U.S.’s past. 

Published on Nov 25, 2020