Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Debates, protests increase over universities' slavery ties

Published:Saturday | October 7, 2017 | 11:18 PM

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- The national debate over removing Confederate symbols from United States college campuses is spurring wider questions about university benefactors whose ties to slavery or white supremacy flew under the radar in decades past.

Students and alumni are no longer simply opposing overt Confederate memorials, but also lesser-known founders and donors with troubling racial legacies. And the discussions have intensified after deadly white nationalist protests in August in Charlottesville, Virginia.

At the University of North Carolina, where opposition to a Confederate statue has dredged up racist statements by a former trustee tobacco magnate Julian S. Carr.

Carr a Confederate veteran, gave the dedication speech in 1913 for the campus statue depicting an anonymous rebel soldier. His remarks included a reference to the "pleasing duty" of whipping a black woman in public.

The fresh attention to Carr has spurred wider conversations about his legacy at UNC and nearby Duke University, where part of campus was built on land donated by Carr.

Both schools are home to a "Carr Building" and have convened panels on how to handle controversial building names.

In 2014, Duke removed the name of a former governor -- Charles Aycock -- from a dorm, citing his legacy of black disenfranchisement. And UNC chose "Carolina Hall" to replace the name of a former Ku Klux Klan leader before putting a freeze on renaming other historic buildings for 16 years.