UVA Cannot Honor These Names on Grounds

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Renaming Ruffner Hall is progress, but it is not enough. Jim Ryan recently stated in an email, “Black lives matter, and it is time to redress the negative impact that systemic racism has had on the experience of many students, faculty, staff, and community members here.” In continuing to celebrate slaveholders, Confederates, eugenicists, and racists through monuments, buildings, and school departments, UVA cannot claim to commit to the Black Lives Matter movement. This petition will be forwarded to the Racial Equity Task Force that plans to “send recommendations to [Jim Ryan] as soon as possible and no later than early August.” We demand that all streets, buildings, and departments mentioned in this petition be renamed and all monuments be removed immediately. 

Before we list the specific names that most obviously need to be removed, it is worth mentioning the extreme lack of diversity in the names honored in statues, buildings, roads, and schools. This petition identifies only a starting point on the road to a University that does not overwhelmingly honor dead white men over others, especially those who actively contributed to violent white supremacy. Removing these names should not even be seen as enough to meet the bare minimum: the University must address the material conditions which still perpetuate oppression today, a demand outlined by the Black Student Alliance in their statement on June 1st, 2020. 

The names we can no longer honor on Grounds: Edwin Alderman, Charles Bonnycastle, Joseph Carrington Cabell, Dabney S. Carr, George Rogers Clark, John Hartwell Cocke, Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, Colgate W. Darden, Robley Dunglison, John P. Emmet, Alexander Garrett, Frank Hereford, Frank Hume, Milton Wylie Humphreys, Albert Lefevre, Socrates Maupin, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Paul Goodloe McIntire, John B. Minor, John Lloyd Newcomb, Charles Broadway Rouss, Woodrow Wilson, and Henry Malcolm Withers. 

Edwin Alderman (Alderman Library, Alderman Road): Alderman was not only the inaugural president at the University, but also a huge advocate for eugenics in his personal and professional life. Eugenics was a pseudoscientific way of justifying white supremacy and institutionalized racism. According to a Cavalier Daily article, Alderman encouraged eugenics research at the UVA medical school and then disseminated the research to Virginia lawmakers. In 1921, Alderman accepted a donation to the University from the Ku Klux Klan. In 1924, Alderman helped unveil the Robert E. Lee statue which was shrouded in a Confederate flag. A petition for renaming the library reached over 2,400 signatures. 

Charles Bonnycastle (Bonnycastle dorm): Bonnycastle was a professor of mathematics, engineering, and natural philosophy at UVA from 1825 to 1840 and instituted the Department of Civil Engineering at UVA. He held nine enslaved persons while working at UVA, boarding them in the basements under lawn rooms 34 and 36.

Joseph Carrington Cabell (New Cabell, Old Cabell): Cabell helped cultivate the vision for the University of Virginia in the early 19th century. He, along with his close friends Madison, Monroe, and Cocke, had over one hundred enslaved laborers on his plantation. His wealth was a product of human bondage and he used that money to fund a University that would counter the pro-abolitionist teachings of the North. The Special Collections Library’s website celebrates him as a "genius," making no mention of the enslaved laborers that built his family's fortune. 

Dabney S. Carr (Carr’s Hill): Born in 1802, Carr was a grandnephew of Thomas Jefferson. On February 5th, 1819, Carr received a letter from his mother asking him to receive permission to move their family’s enslaved laborers. Carr was married to Sidney Nichols who, after her husband’s death, sold Carr’s Hill to the University under the name Mrs. Dabney S. Carr. According to the President’s Commission on Slavery, Henry Martin, a person born into slavery at Monticello, was “rented” to Mrs. Carr on the estate for many years. 

George Rogers Clark (monument on Main Street & JPA): Paid for by Paul Goodloe McIntire, this George Rogers Clark monument was erected in 1921 and depicts Clark on horseback above four Native Americans. The inscription reads “George Rogers Clark, Conqueror of the Northwest,” referencing Clark’s mission to “see the whole race of Indians extirpated” (in his own words). Local activist David Swanson wrote a petition for its removal in 2019. The monument is on university land, yet UVA still has not taken any action towards its removal. 

John Hartwell Cocke (Cocke Hall): Cocke was a slaveholder with over 100 enslaved laborers on his plantation. In 1825, Cocke pressured Robert Battles, a free man Black man, to sell his 17 acres of land to the University in order to “remove free blacks” from the vicinity of the school. 

Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry (Curry School of Education): Curry was born into a slaveholding family and served in the Confederate House of Representatives. According to a University report, Curry “had no thought of challenging segregation, nor of suggesting that the separate schools should in fact be equal. He wanted schools to prepare African Americans for their roles as agricultural and mechanical laborers.” Curry believed that Black students did not possess the same intellectual capacity as white students. 

Colgate W. Darden (Darden School of Business, Darden Boulevard): According to his obituary in The New York Times, Darden spoke favorably about segregation throughout the 1950s. In 1953, Darden said, “It is possible for us to provide in the public school an equality of opportunity for the segregated races.”

Robley Dunglison (Dunglison dorm): After Thomas Jefferson’s death, Professor Dunglison purchased enslaved laborers from Monticello in 1827 and 1829. In 1828, Dunglison was allotted $150 by the university to construct new quarters for enslaved laborers at his residence in Pavilion X. As the “Father of American Physiology,” he facilitated and endorsed graverobbing from Black cemeteries for medical demonstrations at the Anatomical Theatre. 

John P. Emmet (Emmet dorm, Emmet/Ivy Parking Garage, Emmet Street): Emmet, a Professor of Chemistry at UVA, bought enslaved laborers from Jefferson’s estate in the 1820s. In 1832, Emmet applied for an addition to the basement of Pavilion I in order to increase the “accommodations” of enslaved laborers. 

Alexander Garrett (Garrett Hall): Similar to his close friend Thomas Jefferson, Garrett was a well-known slaveholder in Charlottesville. At the time of his death in 1860, Garrett enslaved at least 51 people who worked on his Oak Hill plantation. 

Frank Hereford (Hereford residential college, Hereford Drive): As President of the University from 1974 to 1985, Hereford remained an active member of the “whites-only” Farmington Country Club until 1976. In 1975, 300 students stormed Carr’s Hill in response to Hereford’s absence at the Student Council’s forum on minority affairs. After the Cavalier Daily continuously reported on the president’s racist behavior, he tried to censor the paper and oversee their output. In addition, he seriously considered removing a student from their position as an RA because of their membership to the Gay Student Union (GSU). Adam Grim wrote an opinion piece for the Cavalier Daily advocating for the removal of Hereford’s name from the residential college. 

Frank Hume (Frank Hume Memorial Fountain a.k.a. The Whispering Wall): As stated in a recent petition created by student Abena Sekum Appiah-Ofori, Hume was a “Confederate soldier born in Virginia in 1843… Hume was a staunch supporter of the Confederacy and maintained his white supremacist beliefs up until his death in 1906.”

Milton Wylie Humphreys (Humphreys dorm): Humphreys was a Confederate sergeant and introduced innovative warfare and artillery techniques by using them against the Union army. 

Albert Lefevre (Lefevre dorm): During the unveiling of McIntire’s newest monument, praising the genocidal mission of George Rogers Clark, Lefevre said, “I present to the University of Virginia this monument of pride, enlightenment and inspiration — a monument erected as a memorial to the daring adventures of George Rogers Clark, the conqueror of the Northwest territory. This beautiful work of sculptural genius, like the noble statue of Lewis and Clark, awakens in us just pride, because it makes us ever mindful of the tribute we love to render to those great and heroic sons of the soil of Albemarle, sent forth on their high missions and fateful destinies by the prophetic wisdom of Thomas Jefferson.”

Socrates Maupin (Lile-Maupin dorm): Maupin was a supporter of the Confederate cause but ultimately surrendered the University to the Union during the Civil War. Although recognizing the Confederacy’s loss, he did not accept a job position in Philadelphia because of his incessant loyalty to the South

Matthew Fontaine Maury (Maury Hall): Maury served as a naval officer for the Confederacy. According to the President’s Commission on Slavery, “In 1855, naval engineer Matthew Fontaine Maury spoke at the University and argued that the South’s great progress and internal development, better than that witnessed by any society before, was almost entirely attributable to slavery.” Maury Hall, named after a Confederate traitor of the United States, has housed the Naval ROTC since 1941. 

Paul Goodloe McIntire (McIntire School of Commerce, McIntire Department of Art, McIntire Department of Music. McIntire Amphitheatre): McIntire financed the creation of the Robert E. Lee, George Rogers Clark, Stonewall Jackson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark statues in Charlottesville. In addition to using these monuments as instruments of white supremacy, he also donated Washington Park “for use as a playground for the colored citizens of Charlottesville.” McIntire Park, on the other hand, was reserved for “whites only.” He played a huge role in the destruction of Vinegar Hill, the successful Black neighborhood in Charlottesville. 

John B. Minor (Minor Hall): Professor John B. Minor was a staunch supporter of the Confederacy and forced his family’s enslaved laborers to help with the war effort. In reference to Jim Friday, one of the professor’s enslaved laborers, Minor wrote, “He [Jim] has behaved very badly as to make it necessary to dispose of him. As to his being sold to a trader, the only reason why that need be regretted is that it would occasion his being parted from his mother, who loves him & is loved by him too little to care for the separation…” Minor Hall currently houses the African American and African Studies Department. 

John Lloyd Newcomb (Newcomb Hall, bust in Newcomb Hall, Newcomb Road): Former University President John Lloyd Newcomb repeatedly corresponded with eugenicists, including Harry H. Laughlin, who asked him “about the desirability and possibility of work in eugenics by University of Virginia.” In response, Newcomb confirmed the subject was of “mutual interest.” As acting president, Newcomb replied to a letter about racial amalgamation by claiming, “No institution could be further from teaching that sort of doctrine than the University of Virginia.” The University did not begin admitting Black students until three years after Newcomb resigned as president.

Charles Broadway Rouss (Rouss Hall): A Confederate private during the Civil War, Rouss invested in Confederate war bonds. After the war, he pledged $100,000 to the creation of a Confederate memorial building, which eventually became the Confederate Memorial Institute (Battle Abbey) in Richmond. Rouss gave an additional $5,000 to a monument memorializing the New York Camp of Confederate Veterans. Historian Daniel E. Sutherland wrote that Rouss “may have been the biggest financial contributor to memorialize the Lost Cause.” In addition, when Rouss was going blind, he hired a blind man, John F. Martin, as a guinea pig for experimental treatments.

Woodrow Wilson (Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics): On June 27th, 2020, Princeton announced that their Department of Politics would no longer be named after the former president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson. The Board of Trustees decided that Wilson's "racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms." Wilson re-segregated many federal departments, supported the Ku Klux Klan, and screened Birth of a Nation at the White House as described in this petition

Henry Malcolm Withers (Withers-Brown Hall): Withers was a Confederate soldier whose wealth was accumulated by raiding Union railroad cars during the Civil War.

 

In addition to the above names, we demand that UVA renames all twelve of the Brown Residential College portals: Davis, Gildersleeve, Harrison, Holmes, Long, Mallet, McGuffey, Peters, Rogers, Smith, Tucker, and Venable. 

Davis, Noah Knowles: Supporter of white supremacy. Was a slaveholder.

Gildersleeve, Basil Lanneau: Served in the Confederate Army; received attention for his unapologetic defense of slavery. 

Harrison, Gessner: Slaveholder and fierce supporter of the Confederacy in the Civil War. 

Holmes, George Frederick: Supporter of slavery during the Civil War. He also attacked Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, calling it ‘a work of fiction that promoted proselytism.

Long, George: Was a slaveholder while at UVA.

Mallet, John: Enlisted as a private in a troop of Confederate Cavalry and then established as an aide-de-camp for General Robert E. Lee. 

McGuffey, William Holmes: Was a slaveholder while at UVA. Known for writing the McGuffey Readers which helped teach young children to read. McGuffey readers were made to instill the social and patriotic beliefs that were present in society during the time they were published, which means they did hold racist and misogynistic points of views at times.

Peters, William Elisha: Offered distinguished service in the Confederate army.

Rogers, William Barton: Was a slaveholder. Had reservations about the constitutionality of slavery, but did not want to compromise his professional standing in the South and remained a slaveholder during his time in Virginia. 

Smith, Francis Henry: Served as the Commissioner of Weights and Measures for the Confederate Congress.

Tucker, George: Opposed to slavery in his early career but these views were changed with personal experience and profit. Freed his own enslaved laborers 16 years prior to his death.

Venable, Charles Scott: Served as an aide-de-camp with rank major for General Robert E. Lee.

 

***We will probably discover that this list is incomplete, but these names represent those that need immediate attention from the Racial Equity Task Force. Comments/ideas, email: ejm5qv@virginia.edu

This petition was authored by Emmy Monaghan, Mara Guyer, Mike Seay, Adam Grim, and the Brown College Portal Rename Committee