Our View: Rename Morgan Hall for Harper Lee
By The CW Editorial Board
Lee’s voice was heard then, and it is heard now. Her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has established itself as a staple of American literature that nearly every school-aged child reads today. Through her writing, she stood out as a voice not only for the state of Alabama, but for our university as well, heard loud and clear amid the racial turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement. The CW Editorial Board certainly feels the impact of our alumna and mourns her death.
In the wake of this momentous loss, a petition emerged to rename Morgan Hall for Nelle Harper Lee. The Crimson White Editorial Board is proud to support this position.
John Tyler Morgan is possibly one of the most despicable people whose name is displayed on a university building, and he has some stiff competition for that title. He was a strong proponent for Alabama’s secession from the union, a decision that obliterated the economy, the natural resources and the lives of tens of thousands of Alabamians. He succeeded in curtailing the voting rights of black Americans, served as a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, and argued for the forced deportation of black Southerners.
His name is a disgrace to the English department housed inside Morgan Hall. His name is a disgrace to the students, faculty and staff of all colors who have to pass through its doors. His name is a disgrace to a campus striving to redefine itself as an inclusive, national academic power.
On the contrary, Nelle Harper Lee is an inspiration to millions across the state, the South, the country and the world. She moved the needle of public opinion in this state and nationwide towards more progressive positions on race, class, criminal justice and rural life. Most importantly to the residents of Morgan Hall, she is by any measure of commercial or critical success one of the greatest writers in the English language, and one of the most remarkable alumni of this university. She is a writer whose name could remind students who enter that building that they too can write the next great American novel.
John Tyler Morgan’s name only reminds students of terrorism.
The choice is easy, and it’s long past time for change.
Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board.