Vance Elementary School in Asheville will now be named Lucy S. Herring Elementary School, removing the name of North Carolina's Civil War Governor and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction from the building.
The Asheville City Board of Education voted unanimously for the name change Monday. Herring according to the school system was a teacher for 35 years in both Asheville and Buncombe County schools, including at Stephens Lee High School. Later she was a principal, and an associate professor at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where she was also the director of reading.
Zebulon Vance, the prior namesake of the school, was North Carolina's Governor during the Civil War and U.S. Senator during Reconstruction until his death in 1894. In both positions, he fought vehemently against civil rights for Black Americans. Prior to the war, he and his family enslaved people. Last summer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools decided to rename a high school previously named for Vance. There are statues of Vance at both the North Carolina and U.S. Capitols, but the most prominent memorial of him is the 65-foot high Vance Monument in downtown Asheville's Pack Square. Both Asheville and Buncombe County lawmakers voted to remove the monument following the protests after the killing of George Floyd last year. Details of when that will occur and what will happen to the monument after its removal are still undetermined.