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University Of Maryland President Recommends Renaming Stadium

A general view as the University of Richmond (Va.) Spiders play the University of Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md.
Patrick Smith
Getty Images
A general view as the University of Richmond (Va.) Spiders play the University of Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md.

The president of the University of Maryland is recommending that the university change the name of its football stadium.

Wallace D. Loh said the name should be changed from "Byrd Stadium" to "Maryland Stadium," because the stadium's namesake, H.C. "Curley" Byrd, was a proponent of racial segregation.

Reuters reports that Byrd was the university's president from 1936 to 1954 and played a key role in the institution's growth. The news service adds:

"Byrd was also an ardent proponent of segregation and 'separate but equal' education, both as school president and later in his campaign for governor of Maryland, Loh said.

" 'Values of racial segregation and discrimination are associated with his iconic name and legacy,' he added."

Loh said that for many African-American students and alumni, the stadium in College Park, Md., and its name still carry a "racial message hidden in plain sight."

The Washington Post reports that the "University System of Maryland Board of Regents, which has the authority to change the name, is scheduled to vote on his proposal Friday morning."

As we've reported, this has been a recurring theme on college campuses across the country:

"For example, after students staged a 32-hour sit-in [last month] outside the Princeton University president's office, administrators agreed to consider renaming buildings dedicated to Woodrow Wilson, who was president of Princeton before being elected president of the United States. Wilson supported racial segregation.

"Student demonstrations at Georgetown helped prod officials to rename two buildings that honored former Georgetown presidents who were slave owners. Amherst College appears to be rethinking the school's unofficial mascot Lord Jeff, based on Lord Jeffrey Amherst. The 18th century British military general reportedly proposed giving smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans.

"Students at Harvard Law School have pushed the university to make changes to its official seal, which pays homage to Isaac Royall Jr., whose family made much of its fortune through the slave trade. Royall donated his estate to the law school."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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