To provide context for the quoted portions of Rock Ford’s statement to the School District of Lancaster, submitted by Pamela Stoner, the president of the Rock Ford board of trustees, we offer this statement below in response to Alex Geli’s article in the June 24 LNP | LancasterOnline (“District seeking new name for school”):
Rock Ford fully recognizes the right of the School District of Lancaster to name or rename its schools to reflect the needs of the community and its students.
As educators and museum professionals, we hope that any decision that is reached follows a thorough study of Edward Hand’s life and times and that students take part in this research. Further exploration should include the histories of persons after whom other schools are named in the district, including, for example, George Ross, George Washington and James Buchanan. We recommend that such consideration include a study of the people who would be affected by any contemplated changes.
After a great deal of research over a period of years, we consulted with the African-American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania to develop our interpretation of the enslaved at Rock Ford and in Lancaster County. We welcome the opportunity to share this research with students and community members.
Rock Ford is committed to telling the full story of Lancaster’s diverse population during the late 18th and early 19th centuries and invites everyone to join in our efforts to give voice to enslaved and often unnamed individuals who worked invisibly in the homes, fields and industries of Lancaster.
Deborah N. Smith
Board of Trustees
Rock Ford Foundation