Rename University of Miami facilities with a racist history

Rename University of Miami facilities with a racist history

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Evan Kissner
Evan Kissner signed this petition

While the University of Miami has made great strides in becoming more inclusive to everyone, our university still has a long way to go before realizing true equity and inclusion for all people. In light of our nation’s current racial climate, a group of University of Miami students and staff convened to investigate UM’s history on race relations. Over several weeks, our group discovered several troubling findings, specifically regarding our university’s relationship with George E. Merrick. Working with local Miami-based historians, our group investigated Merrick’s past and discovered much evidence confirming that George E. Merrick both held and acted upon racist, segregationist beliefs throughout his life; including in his role as head of the Miami-Dade Planning Board. Below, we have attached a number of articles and sources that support our findings, as well as a letter written by our group to the University of Miami’s President and administration addressing our findings and recommended steps forward.

We demand:

1. That the University of Miami swiftly and immediately remove the Merrick name and likeness from all University buildings, structures, streets, and properties.

2. That the University of Miami forms an independent committee— representative of students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and Miami-Dade County residents— to review each University of Miami property and its corresponding name in order to ensure that those figures whose likenesses represent our University continue to represent the ideals and values of our current UM: those that do not should be removed.

3. A written confirmation and acknowledgement from the UM Board of Trustees and administration committing that all facilities named after racists, segregationists, or bigots will be renamed in a reasonable amount of time.

Below, you will find our group’s letter and several supporting documents and sources.

Thank you for your support!

Letter of Request for Building Name Changes: University of Miami

The University of Miami (UM) was chartered in 1925. It did not integrate until 1961. (https://scholar.library.miami.edu/umdesegregation/60s.php.html). 

"George Merrick, the founder of Coral Gables and the person who donated the land for UM to be built. In the 1930s, he advocated for all Black families to be pushed out of Miami's city limits and into “negro towns” in West Miami-Dade." (https://www.wlrn.org/post/after-being-called-n-word-student-um-summer-camp-was-asked-apologize-her-reaction#stream/0)


Mohl, R. (2001). Whitening Miami: Race, Housing, and Government Policy in Twentieth-Century Dade County. The Florida Historical Quarterly, 79(3), 319-345. Retrieved June 19, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/30150856


“In a speech to the Miami Realty Board in May of 1937 Merrick proposed a ‘complete slum clearance… effectively removing every negro family from the present city limits.’ This black removal, Merrick asserted, was a ‘most essential and fundamental’ for the achievement of Miami’s ambitious planning goals” (Trouble in Paradise: Race and Housing in Miami During the New Deal Era Raymond Mohl, Page 13).