LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — “His name will now be known and what he did for the community will now be known,” Mayor of Lockport Michelle Roman said.
15 years ago, a planning committee proposed changing North Park Junior High School’s name but were shot down. Today the name change became official.
“My heart is just full, this is something that should've happened a long time ago,” Lockport City School board member Renee Cheatham said.
“We’re different, and yet we are unified to recognize this historical moment,” Kevin Barrett said.
The school is renamed after Aaron Mossell. In 1876 he desegregated Lockport Public Schools, almost 80 years before it happened nationwide.
“Seeing that someone who was such a pillar and an iconic figure who lived right here in Western New York, I believe is so monumental,” Doctor Anna Adjei-Barrett said.
Mossell’s great granddaughter, Doctor Rae Alexander-Minter, said nothing happens without hard work and people coming together. She said this moment is bigger than pride for her family.
“I’m so happy, I’m happy for Lockport, the community, the young people, I’m happy for New York State,” Doctor Alexander-Minter said. “Education is so important, and it can break down barriers.”
“They can see somebody that looks like them and have a school named after them for all that they accomplished. I think that’s big,” Cheatham said.
And this could just be the beginning.
“It’s simply one moment in history, and there’s so many more to come,” Doctor Alexander Minter-said.