By Linda Wright Moore
I recently attended a virtual “town hall” meeting, where Acel was among four stellar candidates nominated for the renaming of the Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia. (The other three are historical figures: Fannie Jackson Coppin, William Still, and Barbara Rose Johns.)
As I listened to brief presentations about each candidate (prepared by members of a school committee of teachers and administrators) I was struck by how short life is – and how fast today and tomorrow become yesterday. A case in point: on Thursday (April 15, 2021) the Inquirer front page was devoted to the closing of the once-mighty Schuylkill Printing Plant – which roared into service in 1992, during Acel’s and my happy days working at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. I remember taking Mariah to tour the plant… in a stroller! Now, the plant is history: 500 jobs lost, and its glory days filed away inside the graying heads of those who once filled news pages with copy and loved the smell of ink on newsprint.
The children now attending Andrew Jackson School may well be part of the last generation to recollect when daily newspapers were still printed and delivered. They may become the “old heads” who will recollect how the demise of reliable reporting and factual information has undermined civility, community and democracy.
Students, parents, staff at the Andrew Jackson School as well as interested “community members” and “others” – are asked to vote on a new name starting on April 16. Balloting closes at 5:30 on May 7th. The voting categories are sufficiently broad to allow many to participate, so please consider giving a nod to Acel. He would love being honored and remembered in South Philly, where he grew up. And he would be delighted to see some kids from the old neighborhood become journalists in the 21st century.
Here’s a link to the ballot: https://jackson.philasd.org/jackson-name-change/