The history behind the names of some buildings on the University of Georgia’s campus has come to light due to the national and local cry for racial justice. The University System of Georgia announced on June 17 that an advisory board will review the names of buildings and colleges across its 26 public universities. The Red & Black has compiled more controversial names of buildings due to their namesake or for the history behind them.
The East Campus Village dorm was named after Ernest Vandiver in 2008, who was the governor of Georgia when UGA became integrated in 1961.
Before the integration, though, he campaigned under the motto, “No, not one,” meaning that he would not stand for one Black child in a white school. He was against integration and, after a tour of South America, he told reporters that 80% of the people in Brazil had “Negro blood,” which was “an example of what could happen in the event of integration in this country” according to the book “We Shall Not Be Moved: The Desegregation of the University of Georgia.”
The building which houses the Mary Frances Early College of Education is named after O.C. Aderhold, who became the president of UGA in 1950. Aderhold was also president when the university was integrated in 1961.
Horace Ward applied to UGA’s School of Law in 1950. Ward accused the university of barring his admission due to his race, and in response, Aderhold promised that he would create a “special committee” at UGA to study the matter, according to “We Shall Not Be Moved.” The three-member committee consisted of law school dean J. Alton Hosch, law professor Robert L. McWhorter and history professor E. Merton Coulter. These three were “committed to preserving segregation” at UGA, according to the book.
During a meeting with the committee, McWhorter and Coulter tried to determine whether Ward wanted to attend law school or if he was a tool of the NAACP to attempt and integrate the school.
A week after the meeting, Ward received a letter from Aderhold that informed him about the special committee’s denial of Ward’s application. The president agreed with the decision, he wrote.
Aderhold also did little to prevent or to contain a riot that ensued outside of Myers Hall in protest of Charlayne Hunter’s admission and the integration of the university. Hunter was the first Black woman to attend UGA. University officials eventually suspended Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, the first Black man to attend the university, “for their own protection” in January 1961.
McWhorter is also the namesake for McWhorter Hall, a dormitory in the East Campus Village community. He was a law professor at UGA, a running back for the Georgia Bulldogs and a supporter of preserving segregation at UGA, according to “We Shall Not Be Moved.”
Caldwell Hall is named after Harmon White Caldwell, who was UGA’s president from 1935-49, and later became chancellor of the University System of Georgia until 1964. He was a known segregationist who stood firmly against the integration of UGA.
“We do with, in our institutions, and so far as possible, to preserve the segregation of the races,” Caldwell said during a court hearing about Horace Ward’s case, according to “Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights.”
Rutherford Hall sits on Myers Quad and is named after Mildred Lewis Rutherford, according to a 2011 UGA Today article.
Rutherford was the principal of the Lucy Cobb Institute, a finishing school for girls in Athens. Today, she’s known for her advocacy to memorialize the Confederacy. She aided in the “Lost Cause” dogma, which was a version of the Civil War that “supplied a heroic interpretation of the war so that southerners could maintain their sense of honor,” according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. She was also a prominent member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which worked to place Confederate memorials across the South and to educate Southern schoolchildren.
In her writings, Rutherford suggested that Black people lived better lives as slaves in antebellum plantations than in the “New South,” or the South after the Civil War. She said that slaves were unprepared for freedom and that, after abolition, Black people were “disorderly, idle, vicious and diseased.”
She also gave “every one of the old-time negroes in Athens” a gift at Christmas “in appreciation of their faithfulness of the long ago,” according to an essay about Rutherford by Sarah Case.
Built in 1901 as a residence hall, Candler Hall was named after Allen D. Candler, the Georgia governor during that year. He had been a colonel in the Confederate army and, after a legal education, won the public office. He’s remembered for reducing taxes and state expenditures, limiting “state services to poor whites and blacks” according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, and for promoting the all-white Democratic primary in elections.
He believed that the Democratic primary was a private organization and should only have white members. He also “did little to discourage corrupt elections, lynchings, or the mob violence that finished the job of disenfranchising African Americans,” according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. He also was the first compiler of Georgia records.
Candler Hall now houses the School of Public and International Affairs.
As part of UGA’s property, the Lumpkin House was a privately owned home by the family of former Georgia governor Wilson Lumpkin, located on Cedar Street near UGA’s South Campus.
Though Lumpkin was a congressman, governor and a state legislator, he viewed one of his most major accomplishments as being his role in the removal of Cherokee Indians from north Georgia, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. In a memoir, Lumpkin wrote that his family was “exposed … to frequent depredations from hostile and savage Indian neighbors.”
Hoke Smith Annex
The Hoke Smith Annex houses the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension, which oversees “all public service and outreach faculty” for the college, according to its website.
Hoke Smith, the building’s namesake, became the governor of Georgia in 1907. He enacted a Georgia amendment that imposed a grandfather clause to disenfranchise Black voters. This action was amid progressive moves he made, as he increased public school funding and abolished the convict lease system, which allowed prisons to lease prisoners to private citizens, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
CLARIFICATION: The headline of this article has been updated to reflect that these individuals were racist figures in Georgia history.