As the nation continues to ask itself tough and vital questions on racism following the death of George Floyd, the University of Alabama on Monday announced it is removing three Confederate memorial plaques from the college campus.
The decision came a day after the Student Government Association at the university said it is talking with college “officials to begin the work of changing the names of campus buildings with racist namesakes.”
The plaques commemorate University of Alabama students who served in the Confederate Army and are located in front of the Gorgas Library on campus.
“These plaques will be placed at a more appropriate historical setting…,” according to a joint statement by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, university president Stuart Bell and chancellor Finis St. John.
The board also said it has appointed a group of trustees to review the names of buildings on all campuses of the University of Alabama system and report to the board on any recommended changes.
Meanwhile, activists at Auburn University are circulating a petition to change the name of a building named after George Wallace, the former governor of Alabama.
“As governor, Wallace promoted and encouraged segregation between black and white people, he tried to stop public schools in Alabama from integrating, and he personally stood in the way of two black students at the University of Alabama to stop them from registering for classes,” says the petition, which as of Tuesday afternoon has been signed by more than 11,000 people.
In Virginia, students at James Madison University are also demanding that buildings named after Confederate leaders be given new names, reported WHSV 3.
“It was an appropriate time to do this 30 years ago, let alone now,” Ryan Ritter, a co-author of a list of renaming demands. “But this is something that students have been particularly passionate about for a long time. I interacted with a few alumni who had taken part in student government before who have been trying to do this for decades.”