The Fullerton Joint Union High School District has made it official: Louis E. Plummer’s name will be removed from the historic auditorium located on the Fullerton Union High School campus.
The vote to remove the name passed unanimously from the board of trustees on Tuesday, as all board members expressed concerns over Plummer’s ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
“I do not want one of our buildings named after a person who joined, participated in and was a member of the KKK,” said Andy Montoya, the president of the board of trustees.
Montoya, who attended Fullerton College across from the auditorium, said recent events like the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests have given him a clear understanding of the need for a name change.
“I feel that we all have new eyes, a larger heart and more understanding as well. The name and association with Plummer and the KKK has to go,” Montoya said.
While Plummer’s name will be removed, the board does not have to rename the building according to board policy, and there have not been any suggestions for a new name.
The move comes after an online petition by Fullerton resident Jacqueline Logwood called for the name change, raising awareness about Plummer’s association with the KKK while he was superintendent of the school’s college and high school in the 1920s. The petition has over 27,000 signatures as of Tuesday evening, surpassing its recent goal of 25,000 signatures.
The name was removed nearly two weeks after Logwood created the petition. She said she was thankful for all the support she received from Fullerton residents.
“I feel very grateful to be part of such a community that is very inclusive and progressive,” Logwood said. “I feel really amazed that all of this happened so quickly.”
Logwood said she does not oppose the auditorium having a generic name, but would prefer the building be renamed after a person of color.
The board also recognized Christopher Cocoltchos’ 1979 doctoral dissertation, “The Invisible Government and the Viable Community: The Ku Klux Klan in Orange County, California During the 1920s,” which named Plummer as a leader in the Myers-led Klan. The board acknowledged that a facility named after someone associated with the KKK goes against the board’s policies against discrimmination.
“I believe that the research and analysis of the dissertation speaks amply for me,” said Joanne Fawley, a board member. “It’s time to turn the page just like one does when reading a history book. You don’t stop part-way through, you turn the page, and that’s how you get on to the next era of history.”
Board member Lauren Klatzker said that the name change is a big step forward for the community, as they must confront the past in order to move ahead.
“We need to represent everyone in our community, and if the name Plummer represents something other than everyone in our community, we need to move forward in changing that name to something else,” Klatzer said.