Huff Post College ran a story this week about the move to rename university buildings that had been named for ardent segregationists and racists.
Two weeks ago, the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that Saunders Hall — named for William Saunders, a 19th-century North Carolina secretary of state and chief Ku Klux Klan organizer — would be renamed Carolina Hall.
This wasn’t enough for many activists who have been fighting to remove Saunders’ name. The same day, the board also announced a 16-year freeze on naming other buildings — meaning that Aycock Residence Hall, named for white supremacist and former North Carolina Governor Charles Aycock, will remain as it is until at least 2031.
Aycock Residence is just one of many college buildings named for American historical figures who were known to have an active role in perpetuating systemic racism. At some schools, students, professors and community members have been fighting to remove these names, in some cases coming up against strong administrative opposition. At other schools, the names remain uncontested.
There is also a move to rename Tillman Hall at both Clemson and Winthrop Universities in South Carolina. Sen. Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman (D-SC) was an active participant as an orator
If find it ironic that many of the same people that want to remove the names of these building are the same people who are fighting the hardest against HB 562. That bill would do away with North Carolina’s pistol purchase permit system (among other things). While the white supremacist movement got its start in North Carolina through the machinations of Furnifold Simmons, his lieutenants included the above named Charles Aycock, Angus McLean, and Cameron Morrison. These three all have university buildings named for them at UNC-CH.
I guess it is one thing to take the name of a white supremacist off a university building but a wholly different thing to repeal a law enacted by white supremacists to keep African-Americans unarmed if it suits the aims of modern day gun prohibitionists. Ironic, isn’t it?