Emory University leaders announced Monday (June 28) that the Atlanta university will rename some buildings on the school’s campus in an effort to reconcile a “legacy of racism, disenfranchisement, and dispossession.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the university’s Longstreet-Means residence hall will be renamed Eagle Hall. Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, president of Emory College from 1839 to 1848 and namesake of the building, was a strong advocate of slavery and secession.
In an email to the campus community, Emory University President Gregory Fenves said, “It is inappropriate for his name to continue to be memorialized in a place of honor on our campus.”
The university will also rename Language Hall on its Oxford College in Oxford, GA, in honor of the late Superior Court Judge Horace J. Johnson Jr., who was the first Black Superior Court judge to serve in the Alcovy Judicial Circuit in Newton and Walton counties. Johnson, who passed in July 2020, also helped integrate Newton County’s public school system as a fourth grader in the late 1960s.
Emory also plans to hold memorials for its Atlanta and Oxford campuses to honor the labor of the enslaved individuals who helped build the university. Emory officials also said they will consider adopting an official land acknowledgement statement to recognize the university’s location on the homelands of the Muscogee nation.
On June 17, Emory held a Juneteenth ceremony in which it apologized to a Black medical school applicant who was denied admission in 1959 because of his race.
The recommendations for these actions came from Emory faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni, through committees created in response to the George Floyd protests last year. The committees were created to review its diversity and inclusion efforts and recommend ways to address the university’s history.
Fenves also said, “By understanding our history and expanding the Emory story to include voices, perspectives, and contributions that were overlooked or silenced, we are creating a deeper understanding of who we are and all we can achieve as a university.”