Publisher's note: The following letter was recently sent by the Rename Grady Task Force to Albany State University President Marion Fedrick, who chairs an advisory board that's been charged to review the names of the buildings and colleges at all 26 University System of Georgia campuses and report to the Board of Regents, USG’s governing body, on the changes they recommend
Dear President Marion Ross Fedrick:
I am reaching out on behalf of the #RenameGrady task force, a grassroots, alumni-led effort to rename the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication for Charylayne Hunter-Gault. So far, our petition has garnered nearly 9,000 signatures.
We are heartened by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regent’s response to our call to action. Forming an advisory board to review the some 3,000 college buildings and schools across Georgia’s public higher education institutions is important work and long overdue.
Listening in to your first planning call in early July, we admired the care with which the board spoke about the important work ahead and the transparency to be maintained throughout the process.
However, we are concerned that the timeline will not allow for the swift action that students, alumni, faculty, and staff of UGA’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication are seeking.
While we understand that much time and care should go into reviewing school names to ensure that next steps are taken thoughtfully, we urge the advisory board to give the University of Georgia the greenlight now to remove Henry W. Grady’s name from the school, rather than wait until the complete audit of school names is completed in late 2020 or early 2021.
Grady, an architect of the post-Civil War “New South,” was an avowed white supremacist who once said, “the supremacy of the white race of the South must be maintained forever, and the domination of the negro race resisted at all points and at all hazards, because the white race is the superior race... [This declaration] shall run forever with the blood that feeds Anglo-Saxon hearts.”
This move to remove Grady’s name from the school already has overwhelming support, as evidenced by the thousands of signatures on our petition and the letter faculty and staff submitted to the advisory board earlier this month. (A copy of that letter is attached here.) Should we volunteer as a historian (Amber?) here?
Please, give the college the greenlight to remove Grady’s name and usher in a new era at this crucial time in not only the history of our university but the country as well.
The Rename Grady Task Force
Kimberly Davis, MA 2008
Amber Roessner, MA 2006, Ph.D. 2010
Kathryn Schiliro, ABJ 2006
Sam Jones, MA 2020
Mandi Woodruff, ABJ 2009
Alyssa Gill, ABJ 2018
Akyra Kelley, ABJ 2019
Joe Dennis, MA 2007, Ph.D. 2016
Carole Munroe, ABJ 1982