EAST LANSING, Mich. — A big change is coming to Pinecrest Elementary School in East Lansing.
School board voted to rename the school in honor of civil rights activist Robert L. Green.
Green and his wife, Lettie, were the first Black people to own a home in East Lansing and integrate the school district. He was a professor and administrator at Michigan State University and also worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr.
"He decided to work with Dr. King in the Civil Rights Movement and he said it was the best thing he ever did. I know it was very dangerous and it was not a friendly environment being down south at the time , but I’m glad he did it because it allowed him and others to make positive changes," said his son Vincent Green.
Pinecrest Elementary was chosen for this change because it was the school his children attended. Vincent Green is believed to be the first Black student in East Lansing Public Schools.
Vincent Green said he's beyond proud of his father.
"It's so neat that an educational facility is being named after my dad, and more importantly where my brother and I went to elementary school," he said.
He also said this change is part of his father's legacy.
“When I look at my daughters and my new grandson, the legacy that my dad has left...they’re going to drive by and see that's grandpa, or that was great grandpa’s place," he said.
East Lansing Public Schools board member Kath Edsall says she hopes the district will integrate Green's story into lessons.
“My hope is that we will introduce what Dr. Green did to the students through pictures as you enter the building and a storyline and maybe some changes to the curriculum here and maybe district wide," Edsall said.
The district is planning to officially change the name by September. They’re also trying to create a plaque that talks about who Green is and the work he did.
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