Hisd Board Unanimously Approves Renaming of Jack Yates High School Football Field in Houston’s Historic Third Ward, Where George Floyd Played
At their regularly scheduled meeting on September 9th, the Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) Board of Trustees unanimously approved renaming the athletic field at Jack Yates High School to George Perry Floyd Jr. Athletic Community Field. The field is located on the campus of Jack Yates High School, which is in the heart of Third Ward, at 3650 Alabama.
Prior to her departure from HISD, Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan formed a renaming committee for the athletic field at Jack Yates in June, after receiving a request from community members and some members of the Jack Yates alumni.
Based on the criteria provided by HISD staff to rename the field, the renaming committee solicited names amongst the committee for consideration. Various names were presented by the committee, but the four top names voted on by the committee were: Andrew “Pat” Patterson Field, George Floyd Field, George Perry Floyd Jr. Athletic Community Field, and Jack Yates Athletic Community Field.
After identifying the top four names as a committee, the decision was made to create a survey and solicit input from a cross-sector of interested parties. The survey consisted of the top four names that were voted on by the committee, but also allowed for survey participants to submit considerations for other names. The survey was posted to the Jack Yates High School website and it was accessible to the community, alumni, students, parents, and Jack Yates staff.
Other names were submitted for consideration, such as: Luther Booker Field, Maurice McGowen Athletic Field, Patterson/Booker Memorial Field, Jack Yates Lion’s Den, Legends Field Lions House, Floyd-Patterson Field, to name a few.
At the end of the survey deadline, the results came back substantially for George Perry Floyd Jr. Athletic Community Field, with Andrew “Pat” Patterson Field coming in second, and George Floyd Field and Jack Yates Athletic Community Field tying for third.
The renaming committee then met to certify the survey results.
On June 2021, the renaming committee—which consisted of students, parents, Jack Yates alumni, and community members—cast a final vote to forward a positive recommendation that the field be officially renamed George Perry Floyd Jr. Athletic Community Field, in honor of George Floyd’s life and to continue the focus on social justice. The recommendation from the renaming committee was then sent to the HISD Board of Trustees for consideration, to which they unanimously voted to approve the renaming (9-0).
Since the tragic and untimely death of George Floyd on May 25th of last year, the nation has tried to come to grips with the reality of the unjustifiable murder of a Black man caught on camera for the world to see. There have been countless marches, protests, and candlelight vigils that have taken place all over the world to condemn the cowardice act by convicted murderer and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who lodged his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The name—George Floyd—has become synonymous with an ever-increasing demand for social justice in a country that has practically denied and historically ignored the cries for justice for Black people.
George Floyd has impacted the world and awakened the souls of people across the globe, and now another opportunity to highlight the call for social justice in America has come about as a result of the renaming of the athletic field at the historic Jack Yates High School.
In February, a Black Lives Matter mural was painted in crimson and gold on Alabama Street in front of Yates High School in memory of George Floyd. At the end of the mural is a red football jersey with a yellow 88, the number George Floyd wore, along with his date of birth and date of death. In May, a new park was dedicated to the memory of George Floyd, donated by Ms. Gertrude Jane Stone and the Stone family, who owned the property and have served as a prominent and influential African American family in the Greater Houston area and in Third Ward for decades. The property, which is located directly across from Jack Yates High School, sits at the corner of Napoleon Street and Alabama Street.
There have been countless other murals, statues, memorials, scholarships, poems, songs, video tributes, and memorials that have been dedicated to keep George Floyd’s memory alive and on the minds of people across the world. George Perry Floyd Jr. Athletic Community Field, located on the campus of Jack Yates High School, now joins that list.
On May 28th, a consortium of organizations in Houston’s historic Third Ward came together to receive a donated field valued at $1,250,000 from the Houston Texans, Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation-NRG Park, Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Hellas Construction, Inc. The Third Ward Planning Consortium, which represents community development, education, community engagement, public service, and social service organizations anchored in the neighborhood, is a strategic alliance that includes Change Happens, Houston Society for Change, 88 C.H.U.M.P., Harris County Commissioner, Precinct One, Rodney Ellis, and the Jack Yates High School National Alumni Association (JYNAA).
The Houston Texans, the NFL Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) also awarded $450,000 to renovate and resurface the athletic field located at Jack Yates High School.
At Jack Yates High School, there is a rich legacy and history, not just in the Third Ward community or across the Greater Houston area, but across the globe. George Floyd helped bring even more awareness to the great legacy of the historic institution, often referred to as “Third Ward High” by many.
The Third Ward Planning Consortium who helped secure the donated field and funding, have been raising funds to complete the installation of the donated field, as well as do other capital improvement projects to further enhance the football field and plans to continue doing so after the HISD Board decision. They have been working with the fiscal agent, Change Happens to solicit more donations to complete the project.
To donate to this project through Change Happens, visit https://www.changehappenstx.org/jack-yates-athletic.