University of San Francisco Changed Building Name from a former Mayor to the city’s First Black High School Principal

, Spencer Irvine, 1 Comment

Why did the University of San Francisco change a name of a building from former San Francisco Mayor James D. Phelan to Burl A. Toler? Phelan’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and alleged use of anti-Japanese sentiment in his rhetoric motivated the administration to make the name change.

Per Inside Higher Ed, Mr. Toler is an important figure for minorities in San Francisco:

Toler, whose name will now be on the facility, would have been 89 today. When he was a student at the university, he was a football player, a rare African-American star on a predominantly white team in 1951. The team opted out of postseason bowl games rather than leave Toler and another player behind, as would have been required. Toler went on to become a teacher and the first black high school principal in San Francisco.