MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – With the Mount Vernon School District continuing its state of rebuilding as it transitions away from a traditional system to a “K-8 model,” a pair of schools will be getting new names to honor some local heroes.
On Saturday, the Longfellow Elementary and Middle Schools will officially be renamed for Benjamin and Rebecca Turner, respectively, who were key figures in the area centuries ago.
Collectively, the campus of the schools will be known as the Benjamin and Rebecca Turner Educational Park.
According to local historian Larry Spruill, who will be the keynote speaker at the weekend event, “Benjamin Turner was a free Revolutionary War era African American parishioner of the historic St. Paul’s Church, while Rebecca Turner was a businesswoman and parishioner of Asbury Methodist Church beginning in the 1830s.”
“Their family ties to our community can be dated prior to the 1664 founding of Eastchester, which began at St. Paul’s Church in Mount Vernon.”
Mount Vernon Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton said that this renaming provides the district a chance to honor the Turner’s “legacy.”
“As we continue to transform our school district in the name of social justice, this is a great opportunity to celebrate the Turner’s legacy in Mount Vernon and demonstrate to our students that it is never too late to right a wrong and make amends with the past,” he said.
The renaming ceremony will kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, at the Longfellow Middle School auditorium, featuring a keynote address from Spruill, with remarks from members of the St. Paul’s National Historical site and the United States Park Service.
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