On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – I, Carmencita Pile, an elected Plainfield School Board member presented this during the Plainfield School Board monthly business meeting to the public and to the board after being recognized by Plainfield School Board President Mr. Richard Wyatt.
On Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 12:10PM an email was sent from the Plainfield School District's Postmaster that read:
Dear Plainfield Public Schools Family, Administrators and Community-At-Large,
Name Our New School - August 18, 2017 deadline.
The State of New Jersey Schools Development Authority will be funding the building of a new school for our district at the Woodland School site. The Plainfield Board of Education requests your assistance in naming our new school, selecting the school colors and the school mascot.
Please submit your suggestions, no later than, Friday, August 18, 2017 to Dyane Miller at Dmiller@plainfield.k12.nj.us.
Plainfield Public Schools
This is approximately, if not exactly 314 days ago. Or 10 months and 10 days ago. Or 44 weeks and 6 days ago. And by the deadline of August 18, 2017 over 100 responses regarding the naming of the school were received. Some responses were to name the school after people such as: Frederic W. Cook, Phillip S. Cox,Dr. James E. West, Mr. Henry or Mrs. Dorothy Henry, Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Patrick McVerry, T. Slaughter-Cabbell, Tracy Brown, Dean [No first name],Robert Kearney, Milton Campbell, Abigail Powlett, Donald Van Blake, Everett C. Lattimore, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Charles F. Booker and Mr. & Mrs. Charles & Anna Booker, Bettie Quinn, Adele Deleew, Joe Black, Julia Bulkey
And then there were other names such as:
The New Woodland School, Woodland-Cook or Cook-Woodland, Cookland or just Woodland School
1st Chapter School of Success
Queen City Elementary or Academy
Chosen Generation Academy
Bright Future Academy
The Future Generation Public School
Plainfield Elementary School
Young Innovators or Young Scholars
Scholar and Savants Academy
Plainfield Pride Charter School
Plainfield School of Elementary Learning [PSEL]
Plainfield New Elementary School [PNES -pronounced PENS] ??? [This could easily be mispronounced as PENIS}.
Out of all of these great suggestions -the overwhelming majority clearly went to Mr. & Mrs. Charles and Anna Booker.
A couple of days after the business meeting on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 – I made a motion to name the new school building after Mr. & Mrs. Charles and Anna Booker and I didn't even get a second. However, I got calls from individuals who researched the Bookers and they were so very impressed by the Booker’s history.
More than 55 years ago - 1962, Charles Booker was the lead plaintiff in a history making lawsuit against the Plainfield Board of Education.
THE HISTORIC 1965 CASE – BOOKER V. BOARD OF ED – BY WHICH THE NEW JERSEY SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN SEGREGATION BY WHAT WAS THEN REFERRED TO AS “NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS”.
For those who can –think back to the 1960's:
Man landed on the moon. The Beatles hit single "Love Me Do". Chubby Checker, an African American rock and roll singer and dancer, twisted his way into White high society. Marilyn Monroe dressed in a revealing dress sang a sultry and memorable rendition of Happy Birthday to the President of the United States.
And then we had the dark side of the sixties. It was dominated by the Vietnam War, and assassinations of United States President John F. Kennedy, a Presidential candidate -Robert F. Kennedy and two of the most visible leaders in the civil rights movement Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.
Black African Americans –barbarously known as Negroes in the sixties, were brutally beaten, attacked by vicious dogs, lynched and many died as a result from the 1800’s Jim Crow laws. Marching for civil rights they were bloodied and severely injured while being televised, which stunned the world into bringing support to the Civil Rights Movement.
President Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Black African Americans sang We Shall Overcome because we all wanted The DREAM.
And through all of this – BOOKER V. BOARD OF ED LAWSUIT SUCCEEDED IN ENDING SEGREGATION IN PLAINFIELD SCHOOLS AND SET PRECEDENT ALL ACROSS NEW JERSEY.
I bring this to you, the public, because I tried to have a discussion with the board regarding the naming of the new school and there is never enough TIME. Yet, there is enough TIME to dismiss an elected school board member. And –YET there is enough TIME to have a discussion on removing a food service vendor. But no TIME to honor Mr. Charles Booker, who is 95 years of age and his wife Mrs. Anna Booker, 93 years of age. For these two longtime residents and activists of the City of Plainfield there is no TIME. As sad as it is –recently Plainfield lost two great longtime residents and heroes – Mrs. Dorothy Henry and Mr. Donald Van Blake. As we all know – Mr. Van Blake has tennis courts named after him. Milt Campbell has a field named after him. The City Hall Annex is named after Mr. Everett C. Lattimore. There is a baseball field named Joe Black.
And –in response to the other names noted in the survey –perhaps in the new school the science lab can be named after Dr. James E. West, the library after Mrs. Dorothy Henry and so on.
My understanding is the school may not be completed until 2021, which would make Mr. Booker 98 and his wife 96. Need I say anymore?
Plainfield school board and citizens let us make a PROMISE to Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Anna Booker that we will honor them for what they did for the many children of Plainfield by PROMISING them with the GIFT OF ETERNITY BY NAMING THE NEW WOODLAND SCHOOL AFTER THEM. Let Plainfield give them this gift of appreciation now.
Allow them to smell and enjoy their flowers.
Today, I move that the new school building when built here in our Plainfield school district, where the present Woodland Elementary School is located, which will be funded by the State of New Jersey Schools Development Authority be named after Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Anna Booker.
Can I get a second?
[NO BOARD MEMBER GAVE A SECOND - The motion FAILED. Wow! Really?!]