Honor Russell Lee

RECEIVED Sat., April 9, 2016

Dear Editor,
    I am one of many in our community who is urging R.E. Lee Elementary's mandated name change ["Lee Elementary No Longer Lee Elementary," News, April 1] to be in honor of Russell Lee, an Austinite, who was a world-renowned photographer, a member of the team of the Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers, whose mission was to record the life of America during the Great Depression. Their body of work is one of the great documentaries of human history, with individual images that are towering works of art. During the inauguration of Lee School in 1939, Russ Lee was in the field, traveling across the country recording the desperation and dignity of his fellow Americans, with an emphasis on Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana. He taught the first-ever photography class at the University of Texas in 1965, and was an important influence to generations of photographers, but beyond his professional achievements, he was a great teacher, humanist, and intellectual, a kind, gentle, and giving man. Many of his images taken during the Depression were of children the age of those attending Lee School – children doing homework in tar paper shacks, in one-room schools, children in rags playing with homemade toys in camps along the road. Russ Lee is someone the students of Lee School could admire and learn from, and the community could be proud of having his name on their school. In my view it is a natural, fitting, and deserving choice.
Ed Lindlof
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