FLORENCE, Ala. — A building on the University of North Alabama campus bears the name of former Governor David Bibb Graves. Because of his involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, some in the community want the name changed.
In Spring of 2020, demonstrations were held nationwide calling for change and racial justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
During that time, people in Florence were calling for the renaming of Bibb Graves Hall. In June, UNA student Peyton Barrow organized a protest. He also created a Change.org petition which now has more than 4-thousand signatures calling for the building to be renamed.
In 2021 the building’s name remains, however, the sign in front of the building was updated and instead reads “601 Cramer Way,” which is the building’s address.
Provost Ross Alexander explained that UNA as well as universities across the state have been examining the names of buildings and landmarks with complicated histories concerning race issues.
“As a full-service, public, regional, comprehensive university, we’re a broad tent, and we represent the viewpoints and the perspectives of a wide array of faculty, staff, and students as well as community members, and we feel an obligation to represent all of them well,” Alexander said.
While the official name of the building is still Bibb Graves Hall, Alexander said the university is still working towards the renaming process, in accordance with the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.
Other Alabama universities that have removed Bibb Graves’ name from buildings include Alabama A&M, Montevallo, and Troy.