His name was removed from the structures of other schools in the state, including Troy University, Alabama State University, and Jacksonville State University, according to The Montgomery Advertiserwho re-examined his legacy as governor.
“The argument has been made that Graves has given the state better schools, better roads and better health care,” said state government reporter Brian Lyman. wrote on Twitter. “He also allowed the rampant terror against Alabam blacks and women of all races to go unpunished.”
A spokeswoman for the university system, Lynn Cole, said Mr England’s task force “recognizes the complexity of this changed name” and “will continue to engage in respectful dialogue with those who have expressed feedback”.
Since its inception in 2020, the university’s building renaming group has removed the names of other Klansmen and slavery supporters from Tuscaloosa campus buildings. Morgan Hall, named after John Tyler Morgan, a former Confederate general and Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, became English Hall. Nott Hall was renamed Honors Hall, getting rid of an association with Josiah Nott, a pro-slavery doctor.
Students and organizers had been pushing for some of the changes with petitions, one of which garnered around 20,000 signatures. Another, with around 2,000 names, was started by Lauren Upton, a former student who was involved in recruiting for the university’s College of Education, which is located in Lucy-Graves Hall and is linked to a library through a tunnel where Mrs. Foster took shelter from the rioters.
Ms Upton and others questioned why the directors hadn’t dropped the Graves name.
“You’re basically saying at best that he made bad decisions in order to pursue his career and put many lives at risk, including Autherine Lucy Foster’s,” she said.
Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP, said the organization “would prefer the building simply be named after him.”