Montgomery County Public Schools have identified seven district schools that are named after slave owners, and now school board members and parents are attempting to decide which problematic historical figures have got to go. 

The Washington Post recently revealed that families and alumni are on the verge of delivering a report to the school board regarding changing the name of Magruder High School, named for Col. Zadok Magruder, a founder of Montgomery County who also owned 26 slaves. 

Magruder may not be well known, but Americans are likely to recognize another name on the county’s list of problematic people: Francis Scott Key, author of the national anthem. 

Key was a slaveholder who also defended slaves, as well as slaveholders, in his profession as a lawyer. Even at the time, he was a bogeyman for abolitionists who critiqued his vision of America, “the land of the free,” as not applying to all people. 

It should go without saying that though owning slaves was and is a grave evil, not all slave owners were so depraved that they did nothing worth commemorating. And while some name changes might not seem like a big deal, activists are not content to stop at minor historical figures. 

The same types of progressives who push to rename schools christened for relatively obscure figures such as Magruder or Richard Montgomery have also pushed to cancel Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and other leaders integral to our country’s history. 

And while I am loath to complain about changes such as Washington, D.C., scrubbing the name of Woodrow Wilson High School, there is something concerning about a country that decides there is no place in the public sphere for people who have committed great wrongs. 

In September, the New York City Council discussed a bill that would authorize the city’s design commission to consider removing “works of art on City property that depict a person who owned enslaved persons or directly benefited economically from slavery, or who participated in systemic crimes against indigenous peoples or other crimes against humanity.”

If we’re talking about statues of figures who lived before the 20th century, that really could be anyone.

Back in Montgomery County, progressives have their eye on Key, a man with an admittedly mixed legacy who nevertheless left us with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a song that Montgomery County students are likely to be exposed to before their sporting events and more.

If Key is to be canceled, then many others must be as well. Progressives want history to have played out like a children’s tale with clear villains and heroes; they will be devastated to discover the truth the moment they pick up a history book. But as more and more organizations look to prove their progressive chops, it appears that cancelation isn’t just a side-effect of poor history lessons. It is, in fact, the whole point.