Spokane Elementary School Renamed After City's First Black Woman Lawyer

Jul 1, 2021

Spokane Public Schools has renamed a school after Spokane's first Black woman attorney.
Credit Spokane Public Schools

The Spokane school board voted this week to change the identities of several schools. Most notably, it renamed Sheridan Elementary after Spokane civil rights leader Frances Scott.

Jerrall Haynes, chair of the Spokane Public School Board, said he fully supported the new name, and said it was personally significant to him.

“I never once thought I’d have the opportunity to name a school after a Black woman, right? Especially not here in Spokane,” he said.

Frances Scott Elementary was previously named for Philip Sheridan, a Civil War-era American military leader. The quote "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" is attributed to him. 

Frances Scott was a civil rights leader and the first Black woman to practice as an attorney in Spokane. She was also a Spokane Public Schools teacher.

The School Board also adopted two new mascots for schools, the wolf pack for North Central High School and ravens for Garry Middle School.

Both school districts previously had mascots associated with Native American imagery, which is no longer allowed due to a state law that was approved earlier this year.

The principal of North Central High School said the wolf pack symbolized family, support and community.