Rename the Strom Thurmond Center at The University of South Carolina

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This petition is to rename the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center at the University of South Carolina. I am an alumni of this University and am embarrassed after a quick Google search of the name of one of the most frequented buildings on our campus. 

Although Thurmond was known for other things outside of his racism, we can not put racists on a pedestal or on the side of buildings if we want to become an anti-racist University and student-body. 

Here is a little bit of background on Strom Thurmond: 

  • He wrote the first version of the Southern Manifesto, announcing Southern disagreement with the 1954 U.S Supreme Court decision in Brown v Board of Education which ruled that public school segregation was unconstitutional.
  • Strom Thurmond was a Segregationist Politician who served 48 years as a U.S. senator for South Carolina.
  • In 1948, he ran for president of the United States on a platform that opposed the civil rights of African Americans.
  • He was the leader of the Dixiecrat Revolt - The Party opposed racial integration and wanted to retain Jim Crow laws and white supremacy in the face of possible federal intervention
  • Thurmond filibustered for more than 24 hours to prevent passing the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
  • "Strom Thurmond, Foe of Integration, Dies at 100" was the headline of a 2003 New York Times article about his passing. 
  • After his passing, Essie-Mae Washington-Williams revealed she was Thurmond's daughter. Washington-Williams mother was an African American who was employed as a domestic worker at Thurmond's family home - she was 16. 

The word "Strom" is heard numerous times daily for students at USC, and it's time to change the name of this building to someone that we are proud to represent and promotes an anti-racist future for The University of South Carolina, its students, faculty and alumni. 

Thank you.