A committee charged with recommending a name for Fayette County’s sixth traditional high school has chosen Frederick Douglass.
Lester Diaz, the principal of the new school on Winchester Road, made the announcement at the school board’s Thursday planning meeting.
There were 672 submissions from the public.
The Fayette County school board will take a final vote at its monthly meeting Nov. 21. The high school is set to open in the fall of 2017.
The call for the name was led by alumni of the old Frederick Douglass High School on Price Road. They were at Thursday’s meeting.
“I love it,” alumni association member Bobby Robinson said. “I think it’s one of the best things to happen to Fayette County in 2016.”
School board members Doug Barnett and Ray Daniels praised the recommendation.
The movement to name the high school after Frederick Douglass is intended to honor the segregated high school in Fayette County and to honor the abolitionist.
Douglass alumni have said that Frederick Douglass High School served black Fayette County children living outside the Lexington city limits during the segregation era.
Douglass was a leader in the anti-slavery movement and was the first black citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank, serving in several diplomatic positions, according to the website Biography.com.
When Paul Laurence Dunbar High School opened about 26 years ago, it was renamed for Dunbar, the segregated Lexington high school that also closed in the 1960s. Paul Dunbar was an American poet, novelist, and playwright of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born in Ohio to parents who had been slaves in Kentucky before the Civil War.
The other proposed names for the Winchester Road high school made public so far by various groups and individuals include the late basketball coach S.T. Roach; Brenda Cowan, Lexington’s first black female firefighter, who was slain in the line of duty; the late school board chairman John Price; and Muhammad Ali.
School board policy requires that the name reflect the geographic significance of the area, or an individual who contributed in a significant way on a local, state or national level.