Duke’s Board of Trustees approved the removal of Julian Carr’s name from a building on East Campus on Saturday, following recommendations from a university committee and President Vincent E. Price.
Located along the East Campus quad between the Jarvis and Giles residential halls, the building will now go by its original name: the Classroom Building.
Carr was a key figure in Duke’s early history, sustaining the school through his philanthropy and donating land in 1890 that would become part of present-day East Campus.
But he is a controversial figure. Carr was an avowed white supremacist and boasted about being a member of the initial Ku Klux Klan, according to the report from the university’s committee. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1900 on a white supremacist platform.
Carr also delivered a speech at the dedication of Silent Sam on the UNC – Chapel Hill in 1913 where he bragged that he “horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” near where the statue was being dedicated on McCorkle Place. The statue stood on a pedestal there until protesters pulled it down in August 2018.
Carr is also the namesake of Carrboro. The town is currently in the process of developing a “truth plaque” to tell more of the town’s history.
The committee of students, faculty and staff at Duke University was formed by President Price after a request last August from the Duke Department of History to reconsider the Carr building’s naming.
The committee concluded that Carr’s political actions and beliefs, “are inconsistent with the fundamental aspirations of this university, and removing the name will be a powerful statement that lifts up our values as a diverse and inclusive institution.”
Additionally, the final report recommends education surrounding Carr. They wrote that the committee’s decision was contingent on, “the creation of means to present educational and historical information on Julian Carr in order to preserve the record on Carr’s contributions to Trinity College and help the community understand his complex legacy.”