Two Southern colleges announced Tuesday that they have removed symbols of racism from their campuses after facing pressure from students and other members of campus.
Jacksonville State University in Alabama is renaming Bibb Graves Hall, a building that houses administrative offices and was named for a former governor of Alabama during the 1930s and leader of the local Ku Klux Klan, CBS42.com reported. Several other colleges in the state, including Auburn University and Troy University, also stripped Graves’s name from campus buildings in 2020 after the killing of George Floyd sparked a nationwide movement for racial justice. The University of Alabama’s College of Education building is currently named for Graves.
Don Killingsworth, president of Jacksonville State, told CBS42 that the name change “ushers in a new, more modern era for this important piece of the university’s history.”
Oklahoma City Community College also announced it removed a monument that commemorates the Land Run of 1889, when American pioneers traveled west to claim land originally occupied by Native Americans, reported KOCO News. The monument was the source of frequent complaints on social media and even caused “threats of violence and protests” for its glorification of the Land Run, which some students, faculty and staff members found offensive toward Indigenous people, according to KOCO News.
Danita Rose, executive vice president of the college, whose family is of Cherokee descent, called the decision a “no-brainer,” KOCO News reported.
“If our goal is to create a community that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone, a monument that depicts cruelty and oppression can’t be on display here,” Rose said.