School board discusses changing controversial name of Providence middle school

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Providence School Board is set to meet Wednesday night and discuss a number of things, including potentially re-naming a middle school.

The Board is again re-visiting the question of re-naming Esek Hopkins Middle School on Charles Street.

The school is named after Esek Hopkins, who was the Commander-in Chief of the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War.

Hopkins was also the captain of a slave ship, and his mistreatment of slaves is well-documented.

“The slave ship he was captain of had 169 slaves on it and 109 of them died crossing the Atlantic,” explained Nick Hemond, president of the Providence School Board.

“So we think we can find a name for the school that’s more reflective of our values and the make up of the city as it is today,” Hemond added.

Most residents on the north end of Providence agree that it’s time to change the name.

“I’m against any slavery as it is,” said Providence resident Junior Diaz.

“To protect a slave endorser?” he questioned. “That ain’t no good.”

Other residents, don’t see a problem with it.

“It’s been there for so long, why do they want to change it now?” questioned Providence resident, Frank Ricci, who attended Esek Hopkins Middle School over 40 years ago.

The school board has discussed a name change in the past but it never came to fruition.

The board is set to meet at 6:30 Wednesday night.

(c) WLNE-TV // ABC 6

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island