CLEVELAND — Cleveland leaders gathered in the city's Glenville neighborhood Tuesday to celebrate the formal naming of a school after one of the area's most prominent politicians.
The former Patrick Henry School on Durant Avenue was officially renamed after former U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Board of Education approved the change this past spring in recognition of the late congresswoman's career and legacy.
Tubbs, a Cleveland native and graduate of Collinwood High School, earned both her undergrad and law degrees from Case Western Reserve University on her way to becoming a judge on the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. She later served as county prosecutor before being elected to replace the retiring U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes in the historic 11th Congressional District, becoming the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in Ohio.
During her time in the House of Representatives, Tubbs Jones became known for her opposition to the Iraq War and her championing of the United States–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, as well as her formal objection to Ohio's 20 electoral votes being counted for President George W. Bush in the 2004 election. Four years later, she died while still in office at age 58 after suffering a brain hemorrhage while driving, having been preceded in death by her husband Mervyn and survived by son Mervyn Jr.
The name of Patrick Henry, one of America's founding fathers, had been on the pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school for decades but the honor had long raised concerns among community leaders due to his documented history of owning slaves. Thomas Jefferson and Louis Agassiz schools will also have their names changed for similar reasons.
"It's a new chapter for the building," CMSD chief engagement officer Dr. Lee Buddy Jr. said.
Rep. Shontel Brown, who currently holds Tubbs Jones' former seat in Congress, was among those on hand for today's ribbon cutting, along with Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and Mervyn Jones Jr.