Alabama to relocate Confederate plaques, consider changing building names

Published 9:14 pm Monday, June 8, 2020

The University of Alabama has authorized moving three Confederate plaques and studying the names of buildings on campus with an eye toward possible change.

The plaques will be moved from the main library to “a more appropriate historical setting,” a news release said Monday. It did not say whether officials have decided where to move the plaques.

Some of the school’s Board of Trustees also have been appointed to study the names of buildings on all University of Alabama System campuses and report to the board on any recommended changes, the statement said.

The announcement came a day after the school’s Student Government Association called for the university to rename all buildings that have what it called “racist namesakes.” The group tweeted that it also wanted a review “of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act, a state law banning local governments from renaming historical buildings.”

Buildings named after people with Confederate ties include the library where the plaques are now. The Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, built in 1939, was named for the university’s postmistress and librarian, reported. Her husband, Confederate Gen. Josiah Gorgas, was the school’s eighth president and librarian; she succeeded him as librarian after he retired.

The board’s statement did not say whether officials have decided where to move the plaques, which commemorate University of Alabama students who served in the Confederate Army and members of the student cadet corps that defending the campus.

The board authorized their removal in consultation with University President Stuart Bell, President of The University of Alabama, the statement said.

The full board will make final decisions at a public meeting.

The system includes three universities and the UAB Health System, with more than 70,000 students in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Huntsville.