Mary Doakes

Let’s rename Charles Town Middle School for the late Mary Doakes, who served as the school’s principal from 1974 until 1989. She’d been the school’s assistant principal since 1971.

She was the first African-American to be named a principal at an integrated school in Jefferson County.

Mary Doakes, who died last month at age 82, earlier in her career taught at Eagle Avenue Elementary and Page-Jackson High, segregated schools in Charles Town.

I am Mary’s first cousin, and it was a nephew of hers, Brison Twyman, who first came up with this idea.

I did not go to her school but my daughter did. I miss her very much. She was my confidant and friend. I know she was very stern as a principal but fair. You had to earn her respect by making good grades and behaving.

I know getting the school renamed might be a long road and I realize there are a few things to ­consider. Old-school citizens may hate change and there will be costs involved in getting signage and school uniforms updated. But when we weed all that out, I believe it will happen.

Renaming the school will pay tribute to an amazing person and educator and it will also remind people of some important history in this county where schools weren’t fully integrated ­until 1965.

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