Jedediah Smith Elementary School will be renamed in honor of school volunteer Leataata "Tata" Floyd following a unanimous vote by Sacramento City Unified School District trustees last week.
School leaders at Jedediah Smith Elementary began pushing earlier this year for a name change, citing the fact that the explorer, among other things, owned slaves.
Floyd, 70, hosts a popular after-school tutoring and hula dance class at Jedediah Smith Elementary, at 401 McClatchy Way next to two sprawling low-income public housing developments south of downtown.
"In the month of October, we will do a soft roll out with the name change," said school principal Billy Aydlett. "We will have a block party at the school celebrating what Leataata has done for the neighborhood and school."
In a previous story I wrote about trustees considering the name change, Jedediah Smith biographer Barton Barbour said Smith left an incredible legacy and has 75 monuments around the country named after him, mostly in California.
In Sacramento County, the American River Parkway bike trail is formally known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. Smith was born Jan. 6, 1799, and died May 27, 1831. The Sacramento school was established in 1953.
Barbour said in April that he fears the mountain man and fur trader's past was being taken out of context.
"This is what historians call presentism, applying today's ethical standards to people who lived centuries ago, " said Barbour, the history department chair at Boise State. "It's misguided."
For more on the debate about the name change, click here.