Bibb Graves: A Bust


Casey Kula | Staff Photographer

UNA’s Bibb Graves Hall was named after David Graves, a former Ala. governor and KKK ally. Many feel that it is time to name the building, which houses administrative offices and classrooms, after someone all students can admire.

ZANE TURNER, Volunteer Writer

 With social unrest sweeping through the United States, the University of North Alabama is changing too. Many issues have been brought up that were only murmurs before. Now, they have turned into shouts. One distinctively loud shout is the renaming of Bibb Graves Hall at UNA. This building in the center of campus has sported this name since it was built in 1930, but it’s due for a change. 

Over the summer, the topic of changing the name of Bibb Graves Hall was brought up by the student body. Bibb Graves was one of Alabama’s most important governors known as the “Education Governor.” He did many great things for the state, such as creating the highway system, however during his first run for office he was backed by the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). 

Bibb Graves Hall was immediately placed under a vote for a name change over the summer and was approved unanimously. The Student Government Association of the University of North Alabama (SGA) and members of University faculty drew up a document for the name change and presented it to the Board of Trustees. 

Another college within the state of Alabama, Troy University, has done the same thing with the Bibb Graves Hall that is located on their campus. On Aug. 26 the building was renamed after John Lewis, a prominent civil rights leader. 

“Now the university is in the process of preparing the proper documentation to be given to the Alabama Memorial Preservation Committee,” said SGA President, Tate Gooch.

“This is certain to be a long process,” said SGA Vice President, Carson Brite. As the official name change seems to be inching closer and closer, it seems it might take a while to get through the proper boards and paperwork before any official results are produced.

As frustrating as these things can be, it is important to not only the University, but to the student body that the name of Bibb Graves Hall is changed. One possibility of the replacement name for Bibb Graves Hall is “Founder’s Hall.”

The name of Bibb Graves Hall has become a topic of discussion throughout all of campus as many students had known about the founder’s link to the racist group. In the end, it was the protests that caused action to be taken.

With a name with ties to the KKK, which was responsible for the killing and lynching of Blacks and minorities across the United States, the name change is not optional for the university and it should not be optional. 

As the United States progresses in taking down Confederate statues and the state of Mississippi changes its flag due to the pronounced Confederate symbols, it is time we abandon the racist ways of the Confederate south and prove that it is history. With the changing of the name, we are adapting to modern times. As the new generation we have the power to abandon and change our ancestor’s demonic leftovers. 

 “People of color have been silenced for a long time, and it means something to Black people,” said Sophomore Senator Bri Tripp-Young. Tripp-Young is helping students realize that this name change is not just a routine change, but that it is much more. 

This name change is not just a name change, it is a symbol of progression away from the racist and horrible past of the south. It is moments like these that can leave a mark on society. Small moments lead to monumental changes, and no one can do it by themselves. Things like bringing up issues and voting on issues that affect UNA’s student body can change them for the better. No one is useless. Everyone counts. We as the student body have the power to change the things we no longer want our society to admire and glorify. 

“I joined so people could hear me,” Senator Tripp-Young said when asked why she joined the SGA. Tripp-Young is not the only one being heard as many students across the campus are crying out about this issue, like Senior Payton Barrow who started the petition. 

“Well the social unrest is what led to me starting up the petition and reaching out to the school” said Payton Barrow. 

These protests and the social unrest is being heard. It is not faltering, but prevailing. As brave students like Barrow and Tripp-Young bring issues to the University and get answers, they ensure that the student body is heard. Students of UNA should strive to become involved, sign petitions, and take problems to their Student Government Association. The student senators of UNA are here to help bring about change and serve as the critical bridge between students and faculty. 

UNA has proven that they will listen to the outcrys of their students. We should use these new ideas to set our legacy and create true equality among the minorities and majorities on our campus. To not speak out against injustice because it doesn’t affect you or you “don’t care” is to be dormant in a moving society. If you aren’t careful It will leave you behind.