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For decades in Topeka, rumors of Seaman School District’s namesake, Fred A. Seaman, have been circulating in the community. “The first time I heard about it I was like ‘woah, why isn’t that a bigger problem?’” Said René Cabrera, a student at Seaman High School. But it wasn’t until a report from two journalism students at Seaman High School that these rumors were true. That Fred A. Seaman was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. “Finding out all of this information at once was really shocking,” said Madeline Gearhart, who co-wrote the story. Reports from the students showed Seaman’s involvement in the Klan throughout the 1920s – including the fact that he was one of the main leaders of the KKK. “It was really shocking, there were rumors but it was easy to dismiss because the school was integrated,” said Tristan Fangman, co-author. Dr Shawn Alexander, professor and president of African American studies at the University of Kansas, said the KKK in the 1920s focused on labor issues in the state, but it was still so racist and violent. “The Klan had a major presence in Kansas. They were violent towards people – around work more than race issues. They still have the ideas of white supremacy but it is still a nativist position in the 1920s; anti-Catholic, anti-Black, anti-Jewish. The things you think about with the Klan, ”says Alexander. The students and people of the community are now asking the school officials to no longer keep the sailor’s name. “We found excuses and excuses for decades, and no one cared to do anything about it,” said Forrest Brungardt, who, along with René Cabrera and others, led the campaign. to rename the school. “We think a good first step would be to distance ourselves by renaming our school,” said Brungardt. The students started a petition to rename it and organized protests throughout the Topeka community. As of Monday evening, more than 33,000 people signed the petition to rename the school. “If we don’t confront the story, we don’t know what we have to overcome,” Alexander said. We reached out to the Seaman School District for feedback on its namesake and the desire to rename it. They sent us a statement from their school board chair, James Adams, saying, “The board has been receiving feedback on this topic since October and we continue to welcome those who want to contact us. I think it’s the role of the board to facilitate that. community discussion and process. Obviously, this is new ground for us in which we are trying to navigate in the midst of a pandemic, but I look forward to working with our community as we develop a feedback and resolution process. ”

For decades in Topeka, rumors of Seaman School District’s namesake, Fred A. Seaman, have been circulating in the community.

“The first time I heard about it I was like ‘woah, why isn’t that a bigger problem?’” Said René Cabrera, a student at Seaman High School.

But it wasn’t until a report from two journalism students at Seaman High School that these rumors were true. That Fred A. Seaman was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

“Finding out all of this information at the same time was really shocking,” said Madeline Gearhart, who co-wrote the story.

Student reports showed Seaman’s involvement in the Klan throughout the 1920s, including as a leader of the KKK.

“It was really shocking, there were rumors but it was easy to dismiss because the school was integrated,” said Tristan Fangman, co-author.

Dr Shawn Alexander, professor and president of African American studies at the University of Kansas, said the KKK in the 1920s focused on labor issues in the state, but it was still so racist and violent.

“The Klan had a major presence in Kansas. They were violent towards people – around work more than race issues. They still have the ideas of white supremacy but it is still a nativist position in the 1920s; anti-Catholic, anti-Black, anti-Jewish. The things you think about with the Klan, ”says Alexander.

The students and people of the community are now asking the school officials to no longer keep the sailor’s name.

“We found excuses and excuses for decades, and no one cared to do anything about it,” said Forrest Brungardt, who, along with René Cabrera and others, led the campaign. to rename the school.

“We think a good first step would be to distance ourselves by renaming our school,” said Brungardt.

The students started a petition to rename it and organized protests throughout the Topeka community.

As of Monday evening, more than 33,000 people signed the petition to rename the school.

“If we don’t confront the story, we don’t know what we have to overcome,” Alexander said.

We reached out to the Seaman School District for feedback on its namesake and the desire to rename it.

They sent us a statement from their school board chair, James Adams, saying, “The board has been receiving feedback on this topic since October and we continue to welcome those who want to contact us. I think it’s the role of the board to facilitate that. community discussion and process. Obviously, this is new ground for us in which we are trying to navigate in the midst of a pandemic, but I look forward to working with our community as we develop a feedback and resolution process. “

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