Activists file petition to remove D.W. Griffith’s name from L.A. middle school

Activists file petition to remove D.W. Griffith’s name from L.A. middle school

Activists have launched a petition to remove the name of famous Hollywood director David Wark Griffith from a middle school campus in East Los Angeles, California.

The petition is part of a wide-ranging effort by activists to remove all names associated with the Confederacy from public buildings, schools and roads.

D.W. Griffith, an early movie pioneer known for glorifying the Ku Klux Klan, is credited with shooting the first movie in Hollywood as well as with perfecting the intimate close-up. But, it was blockbuster "The Birth of a Nation" that earned him the most praise as well as contempt.

Los Angeles teacher Jose Lara, who helped launch the recently filed petition, called the film "horribly racist," and many film scholars agree with the teacher's point of view.

Speaking on the topic, Lara said, "We need to rethink D.W. Griffith's role in American history and really think about should we be glorifying him naming our schools after him."

Meanwhile, a bill designed to ban the naming of schools and roads after confederate leaders, has been tabled in the California Legislature.

Supported by Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), Senate Bill 539 would prohibit state and local properties from bearing the names of elected leaders or senior military officers of the Confederacy. Public places that have already been named after confederacy leaders would have to change their names.

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