NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The City School District of New Rochelle has taken down lettering at the entrance way to the New Rochelle High School Library honoring a Former principal and Schools Superintendent.
The James R. Gaddy Library is looking for a new name.
The name has been removed a little more than a month after Pinehurst Police were called to Gaddy’s home in Pinehurst, North Carolina and determined that Gaddy killed his wife, Josie Gaddy, before turning the gun on himself 2-3 days later.
Some members of the black community in New Rochelle expressed dismay that the library will no longer honor James Gaddy.
Talk of the Sound would like to propose an alternative, naming the library after Paul B. Zuber and using the entranceway as a permanent space to honor the civil rights struggle generally but with a focus on New Rochelle’s connection to that struggle in particular including Zuber’s work on ending “de facto segregation”, the Lincoln School Desegregation case and those New Rochelle residents who were the plaintiff’s in the case, the role of Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice, and former New Rochelle High School teacher Anne Schwerner whose son Michael, a 24-year-old civil-rights worker, was killed by Ku Klux Klansmen near Philadelphia, Mississipp, in 1964.
There is a tremendous story to tell about New Rochelle’s prominent role in the civil rights movement. The Lincoln Case is regarded as the third most important education-related civil rights case in American history, behind only Brown v. Board of Education and Cooper v. Aaron (Little Rock Nine). The after math of Schwermer’s murder, along with the murder of Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, changed public opinion and played an important role in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Zuber fought for years against “de facto” segregation in New York City, Chicago, New Jersey, Nassau County and elsewhere bit it began in New Rochelle.
In the New Rochelle decision, written by Judge Irving R. Kaufman, the court found that “the Lincoln School was established as an all-Negro school by the gerrymandering of district lines and by the transfer of white children residing in the district to schools outside the district.” The decision resulted in the transfer of 267 black pupils from the Lincoln School to 11 other schools. The policies put in place in response to Kaufman’s decision remain in force to this day .
Talk of the Sound has published numerous articles on the Lincoln case:
Eight-Part series on school desegregation in New Rochelle presented in anticipation of the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Court's Landmark Decision in Taylor v. New Rochelle Board of Education