This is embarrassing coming from my home state. But not shocking. The University System of Georgia’s governing board has decided to keep the names of people who were slave owners and supported segregation on 75 buildings of public colleges and universities across the state.
This is not unforeseen, considering a Civil War-era law that was used by slave catchers was also used in the defense of the three men who killed Ahmaud Arbery—and a couple of weeks ago, the Georgia GOP fought to keep power away from Black Democrats in the state.
This is what Georgia does.
According to a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an advisory group recommended that the board rename all the buildings bearing the names of segregationists and slave owners. The Board denied.
Disgraceful. Why are they so stringent on keeping the names of people who thought less of Black people on school buildings? We know the answer, but I just don’t feel like saying it.
As you would imagine, many people pressed to have the names of these buildings changed and were critical of the decision not to. One group, #RenameGrady, wants the name Henry H. Grady removed University of Georgia’s journalism and communications school per the report from the AJC.
To no surprise, when Grady was alive, he was a racist.
From the AJC:
“It demonstrates to us the board’s support of racism and the upholding of white supremacy,” the group, #RenameGrady, said in a statement. “This failure signals a willful ignorance of the history of people of color and a disregard for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students who have to walk the halls of these institutions every day.”
Grady, editor of The Atlanta Constitution after the Civil War, was a cheerleader for the reconstruction of Atlanta and the “New South”. Critics, though, say some of his speeches and writings supported white supremacy.
The advisory group that recommended the name changes to the University System of Georgia was formed last year to review the names of building in schools across the state. They reviewed over 900 college and university buildings named after people. The group was headed by Albany State University President Marion Frederick. The review identified the 75 buildings they recommended name changes for, according to the AJC.
Hopefully, the advisory group and other organizations can continue to push and fight for these buildings to be renamed.