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School Erases ‘Sexist’ Epigram By Benjamin Franklin

January 12, 1985

SHAMOKIN, Pa. (AP) _ A plaque etched wth a lesser-known Benjamin Franklin epigram was removed from a wall at a vocational school here at the order of the state civil rights coordinator, who said the slogan’s use of ″he″ was sexist.

The official, Glen Dean Davis, was inspecting the Northumberland County Vocational-Technical School during the summer when he noticed the plaque, which reads, ″He who hath a trade, hath an estate,″ according to school director James Buggy.

Davis contended the use of the word ″he″ discriminated against women and the school removed it, Buggy said.

Former school board member Elmer Shuey, who attended a board meeting Wednesday to find out more details of the removal, said he thought the words served as an inspiration to students.

Joseph Warner, Mount Carmel Area School District superintendent, said he suggested enclosing the words in quotation marks and attributing the remark to Franklin.

Shuey said the school board agreed to study the issue further.

Meanwhile, Franklin’s remark still adorns school walls on another, smaller plaque hanging over one of its entrances.

Franklin, who began his education at the age of 12 as a printer’s apprentice, went on to help found the Franklin Technical Institute in Boston as well as Pennsylvania Hospital and the University of Pennsylvania.

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