Recently Read: Duke Dorm Renamed

East Residence Hall, photo undated.  Courtesy Duke Library Archives, creative commons

East Residence Hall, photo undated.
Courtesy Duke Library Archives, creative commons

Aycock Hall was named after former North Carolina governor Charles B. Aycock who was a proponent for education in the state. Aycock was also was a leader among the white supremacy movement in the late 1890’s. Duke University is a United Methodist related school with the prominent Duke Divinity School. On Monday evening Duke University President Brodhead sent a letter to the student body explaining the decision by the Board of Trustees decision to change the residence halls name.

Aycock, who served as governor from 1901 to 1905, has had his name affixed to the building for more than 100 years. But that is coming to an end after the university’s Board of Trustees voted to revert the building to its original name, East Residence Hall, after petitions from the student body urged the school to re-evaluate the former governor’s legacy.

“Today, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and at the conclusion of a commemoration of integration at Duke, the values of inclusion and nondiscrimination are key parts of the university’s mission,” Duke President Richard H. Brodhead wrote in a letter to student body leaders Monday. “After careful consideration, we believe it is no longer appropriate to honor a figure who played so active a role in the history that countered those values.”

In the late 1890s, Aycock was a leading spokesman for the Democratic Party’s white supremacist activities in the state. He was a part of a campaign of fear and intimidation that sought to forcefully suppress the black vote and sow racial distrust.

How Aycock came to have a building named after him on the Duke campus appears to be something of a mystery. He was not a Duke graduate, nor was he personally involved in the university community, according to Brodhead’s letter. He didn’t donate money to have his name on the building, nor did anyone else on his behalf.

READ MORE at Washington Post

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OK then, all churches named St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John, St. Luke, etc. should immediately change their names. These men, all less compassionate than current students, actually upheld sexism, racism, exceptionalism, and a lot of other lism’s so are not worthy of having their names on our buildings. You might argue that these men were writing within a different time and should be judged based on the society in which they lived. OH…WAIT…so did Aycock.

I am amazed at how little our best and brightest students today accept concepts that are not in line with their beliefs.

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