An advisory group mulling whether to rename buildings and academic colleges on the University System of Georgia’s 26 campuses has whittled down to a list of 840 buildings and nearly 40 college and university names for further research.
Albany State University President Marion Ross Fredrick, who chairs the advisory group, said at a meeting Wednesday the group had culled those names from more than 3,000 buildings that dot Georgia’s university system.
Fredrick said the group has also brought on board two historians to research the roughly 880 building and college names and is eyeing an early 2021 date to wrap up work after forming in June.
The group has also fielded more than 1,700 public comments about the renaming project, Fredrick said.
“We want to make sure we do have a product at the end of this that was well-thought through,” Fredrick said at Wednesday’s meeting.
The advisory group was created amid a backdrop of protests across the country over centuries of racial injustice in America that have been marked by the removal of statues of Confederate leaders and public calls for renaming buildings honoring historic figures connected with the South’s history of slavery and racial discrimination and violence.
Lisa Tendrich Frank, a Florida-based historian who is one of the two historians conducting research, said her team has started pouring over encyclopedias, newspapers, alumni magazines and other sources to identify the names that grace the selected campus buildings.
Working with two PhD students and historian Joshua Butler, Frank said the plan is to create one or two-page summaries on the histories of each name that appears on the roughly 880 buildings and colleges highlighted by the project.
“We’re trying to find out exactly who these individuals were,” Frank said Wednesday. “Why was the building named for these people.”
The advisory group will produce a final report once the research work wraps up.