A historical Black university is unshackling itself from remnants of the Jim Crow era.
Officials at Alabama State University have officially stripped the name of a proud Ku Klux Klan leader from a campus residence hall, reported The Associated Press.
The building on the Montgomery campus had featured the name of KKK member and former governor Bibb Graves since 1928.
The school hasn’t approved a new name for the building yet.
Alabama State trustees voted to rename the building in the aftermath of George Floyd’s May 25 death in police custody.
Alabama Gov. Bibb Graves (left), Florida Gov. David Sholtz (center) and President Franklin Roosevelt in this circa 1930s photo. (GS/)
Klan membership in the 1920 was so populous at the time that politicians used connections in the terrorist group to secure votes, noted The AP.
Graves served two four-year terms as governor in 1927 and 1935, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama. He would resign his Ku Klux Klan position in the late 1920s.
Alabama State President Qunton Ross said the idea of replacing the building’s name has been ongoing for decades.
“Many of our alumni have asked for this to happen. It was a topic of discussion as far back as my days as (student president),” explained Ross, according to Alabama.com. “I am proud that we are able to make this happen during my tenure as president of the university.”
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Two other state schools also have renamed campus buildings that honored Graves, who was known as a pro-education governor despite his racist links.
Troy University, located in Troy, Ala., renamed its Bibb Graves hall for the late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights pioneer who grew up near the campus and died in July at the age of 80 from pancreatic cancer.
The other is the University of Montevallo.