Name of Klan Member Dropped from University of Texas Dorm
The University of Texas at Austin dorm formerly know as Simkins Residence was rechristened this month, reports CNN. The building’s namesake, William Stewart Simkins, was a prominent Ku Klux Klan member in the 1800’s. He was also a professor at the University of Texas law school from 1899 until 1929.
The adjacent Simkins Park, named for William Simkin’s brother, Eldred J. Simkins will also be renamed. “Both Simkins brothers had ties to the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War,” said a statement from the University. The dormitory and the park are now called Creekside Residence Hall and Creekside park. The Texas Board of Regents voted unanimously for the change.
In an article published earlier this year, former University of Texas law professor Tom Russell published a research article on Simkins. Russell’s article stated that the university named the dorm for the Klan member to intimidate African-Americans after the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that integrated schools, Brown v. Board of Education. “During the 1950s, the memory and history of Professor Simkins supported the university’s resistance to integration.”
Although the school does not wish to erase the history of its professors, they do not want the honorific naming of buildings to damage the reputation of the university.
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