North Carolina Central University officially unveiled the new name of its administration building Wednesday. The name of former North Carolina governor, Clyde Hoey, a known segregationist, is no longer on the building at the historically black institution.
University administrators, staff, alumni and students cheered as the new name was displayed. It’s not a big surprise North Carolina Central renamed the building after its founder, James E. Shepard. For years, there have been grumblings from students and alumni about having Governor Clyde Hoey’s name on the school’s main building.
Carolyn Green Boone is Shepard’s great, granddaughter. She says the renaming fills her with pride and joy. Boone says it was clear how Hoey’s named ended up on the administration building.
“Most people didn’t understand he was a staunch segregationist. And that one of the reasons he gave us money was to keep us over here so we wouldn’t try to come over there, to UNC," said Boone, after the ceremony.
Samuel Cooper is president of the NCCU Alumni Association. He thanked student leaders, who over the past few years petitioned the administration to remove Hoey's name from the campus.
"They brought up an issue that has educated many alumni, including myself. I didn't know the history of Clyde Hoey," said Cooper. "A man that had different views that did not reflect the values of our African American community."
NCCU Alumni Walter Farrell Jr. and Al-Tony Gilmore wrote an opinion piece in the News & Observer in February calling on NCCU trustees to vote and remove Hoey's name from the administration building. They said Hoey was more than just a segregationist, he was a racist and had used the N-word in a speech denouncing civil rights for blacks before the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Brandon Hedgebeth, current NCCU student government president, told the crowd, "Naming the administration building after our great founder is much more than a symbolic act of changing letters on a building. Today begins our reshaping of history."
North Carolina Central University was founded by Shepard in 1910. After years of struggling, the state purchased the school in the 1920s and it became the North Carolina College for Negroes. In the 1940s, the legislature renamed the school, the North Carolina College at Durham. The institution was renamed North Carolina Central University in 1969.