Duke to re­move Ju­lian Carr’s name from build­ing

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY JOE JOHN­SON jjohn­[email protected]­ald­sun.com Staff writer Jane Stan­cill con­trib­uted to this story. Joe John­son: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

Duke Univer­sity trustees de­cided Satur­day to re­move the name of Ju­lian Carr, a noted white su­prem­a­cist, from one of its class­room build­ings, a de­ci­sion that Pres­i­dent Vin­cent E. Price hopes will be “a pos­i­tive step to­wards the re­al­iza­tion of Duke Univer­sity’s goals and as­pi­ra­tions.”

The trustees’ de­ci­sion to re­name the build­ing that bore Carr’s name since 1930 comes af­ter a rec­om­men­da­tion from Price and a univer­sity com­mit­tee, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the univer­sity.

The univer­sity has made other de­ci­sions to re­move di­vi­sive his­tor­i­cal fig­ures from campus build­ings. In Au­gust, Price said a space at Duke Chapel will re­main va­cant where a statue of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee once stood to “pro­vide a pow­er­ful state­ment about the past, the present and our val­ues.”

As for Carr, Price called his legacy at Duke “com­pli­cated.” He was a phi­lan­thropist and was “in­stru­men­tal in sus­tain­ing the school dur­ing its early years.” He served on the Board of Trustees of Trin­ity Col­lege, which was later re­named Duke Univer­sity. In 1890, Carr gave 62 acres of land to de­velop the school, the univer­sity said.

But Carr also was an “ac­tive pro­po­nent of white supremacy through­out his adult life,” ac­cord­ing to Satur­day’s state­ment from Duke Univer­sity.

“(The) white su­prem­a­cist ac­tions that Carr pur­sued through­out his life, even when con­sid­ered in light of the time in which they were held, are in­con­sis­tent with the fun­da­men­tal as­pi­ra­tions of this univer­sity, and re­mov­ing the name will be a pow­er­ful state­ment that lifts up our val­ues as a di­verse and in­clu­sive in­sti­tu­tion,” the com­mit­tee wrote.

Carr, the name­sake of Car­rboro, is com­monly as­so­ci­ated with Silent Sam, the re­cently top­pled Con­fed­er­ate mon­u­ment at UNC. In an of­ten-cited ded­i­ca­tion speech in 1913 at the statue, Carr re­counted a story from around the time he re­turned from the Civil War, say­ing he “horse-whipped a ne­gro wench un­til her skirts hung in shreds.”

Pres­sure had been mount­ing on Duke to take ac­tion. Last fall dur­ing an alumni week­end, pro­test­ers in­ter­rupted Price’s speech to a group from the Class of 1968. They is­sued 12 de­mands, in­clud­ing re­nam­ing the Carr Build­ing, which houses the his­tory depart­ment.

Last month, 143 alumni of Duke’s his­tory depart­ment joined the move­ment to re­name the build­ing.

For now, the three-story build­ing will be re­named the Class­room Build­ing, the name orig­i­nally given to the East Campus build­ing, Duke said. In an email to the Duke com­mu­nity, Price said other names have been con­sid­ered as re­place­ments, but that the trustees will con­tinue to study the names, “along with other mean­ing­ful ways to honor their lega­cies.”

The trustees have rec­om­mended that a dis­play inside the newly named build­ing de­tail Carr’s his­tory with the univer­sity in its proper con­text, in­clud­ing his “com­plex legacy,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment.

The Carr name has al­ready been re­moved from an­other ed­i­fice in Durham — a build­ing at the Durham School of the Arts. There’s also a Carr Build­ing at UNC.

Some have called for the town of Car­rboro to change its name. The town board has com­mis­sioned a panel of res­i­dents to ex­am­ine Carr’s his­tory and no­to­ri­ety. They are ex­pected to rec­om­mend lan­guage for a plaque to be placed in town that will ac­knowl­edge Carr’s racist legacy.

The re­moval of the Lee statue came af­ter it van­dals dam­aged it, chip­ping his nose and other parts of his face.

In 2015, UNC trustees de­cided that Saun­ders Hall would be­come Carolina Hall, re­mov­ing the name of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan leader that been on the build­ing since 1920, ac­cord­ing to The News & Ob­server.


Duke Univer­sity trustees de­cided Satur­day to re­move the name of Ju­lian Carr from one of its build­ings and re­name it.

Ju­lian Carr

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