MMSD asks for community input as they consider renaming Madison Memorial High School

James Madison Memorial Hs

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metropolitan School District is asking for the public’s input on a possible name change for one of its high schools.

The district’s board of education put together a citizens’ committee last month to consider a name change for James Madison Memorial High School after a push from an alumna to change name due to the school’s namesake and former President’s history of owning slaves.

The district has not said they are officially changing the name of the school, but is still collecting input on what the community would like the name to be if they decide to make the change.

Members of the community can choose the names they like best out of a list of 24 possibilities through the end of the month. The committee will then gather again and go over the input they received before making a decision on a possible name change.

The list of names includes the possibility of only a slight name change or no name change at all for the school, with “James Madison Memorial High School,” “Madison Memorial High School,” and “Memorial High School” all appearing on the list.

Also on the list are multiple suggestions to name the school after trailblazer Vel Phillips, the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and the first Black woman to win statewide office in Wisconsin, serving as the Secretary of State from 1979 to 1983.

The full list of possible names includes:

  • Memorial High School
  • Dr. Percy L. Julian Memorial High School
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Bruce Dahmen Memorial High School
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Memorial High School
  • Madison Memorial High School
  • Woke High School
  • Bayard Rustin
  • Maria Monreal-Cameron
  • James Madison Memorial High School
  • Frederick Douglass High School
  • Harriet Tubman Memorial High School
  • Otis Redding
  • Vel Phillips
  • Milton McPike Memorial High School
  • John Lewis Memorial High School
  • Mildred Harnack
  • Electa Quinney High School
  • John Muir Memorial High School
  • Madison Learning Academy
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Marsha P. Johnson Memorial
  • Darlene M. Hancock Memorial High School
  • Vel Phillips Memorial High School

Members of the community can submit their input using a form on the district’s website.