Alabama university to rename buildings that honor governors who supported white supremacy

An Alabama university says it will rename two buildings named after governors who supported segregation and white supremacy. 

The University of Montevallo Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to rename Comer Hall and Bibb Graves Hall, named after the late Alabama Govs. Braxton Bragg Comer and Bibb Graves.  

“Both buildings were named after former Alabama governors from the early 1900s who were staunch supporters of segregation and white supremacy,” the school said Wednesday. 

Montevallo, a public liberal arts college, had created a working group to study its campus buildings after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which spurred nationwide protests.

The school said a separate working group will be formed in the coming weeks to review the naming criteria for buildings on the campus. New names for the buildings formerly named for the late governors have not yet been announced. 

Comer served as Alabama governor between 1907 and 1911. His family benefited financially from owning a plantation, and he worked to help maintain systems rooted in Alabama’s plantation system, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama. 

Graves served as governor of the state between 1927 and 1931, and again between 1935 and 1939. He was a Ku Klux Klan leader and used that position to help win his election, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama. 

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