Marshall University to Remove Name of Confederate General From Building

Marshall University’s board on Tuesday unanimously voted to remove the name of a Confederate general from a building on its Huntington campus.

Dr. Jerome A. GilbertDr. Jerome A. Gilbert

Jenkins Hall, which was named after Confederate Albert Gallatin Jenkins, will be called the Education Building for the time being.

A petition to remove Jenkins’ name has been signed by close to 4,000 people.

“It is very ironic and disingenuous that a building intended to prepare the future educators of this state is named after someone who stood against the education and advancement of people of color, especially African Americans,” reads the petition.

Marshall University president Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert recommended the name removal to the board.

“The board considered this issue last year and decided to allow the name to remain intact, while also reinforcing the university’s commitment to the principles of diversity and the equal treatment of all people,” the university said in a statement. “Our board reaffirmed that commitment today by voting, not to erase history, but simply to no longer honor a man whose accomplishments do not provide the university with enduring value. … The Board of Governors has carefully considered the name of every other campus building and concluded that this is the final step in a thoughtful, university-wide effort to make sure the people we honor represent the ideals of equality and justice embodied by Chief Justice John Marshall.”

The petition asking for the name removal said the university should name the hall after a civil rights activist who was involved in aiding the advancement of African Americans in the field of education, such as Ruby Bridges or Dorothy Height or Bernice Robinson.

The university didn’t say when the hall will be renamed.

“Removing the name will allow the board at a future date to honor someone who has made a significant and far-reaching impact on Marshall University through extraordinary public service, service to the university or a major monetary gift,” the institution said.