Amending commemoration: a toponymic case study of racism in Greensboro, North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nicole R. Hawks (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Corey Johnson

Abstract: In 2016 the University of North Carolina at Greensboro removed the name of Governor Charles Aycock from a prominent building on its campus because of the governor’s controversial history. Aycock was known widely as an education-oriented leader because of his generous donations towards schools and universities. Conjoined with this reputation were actions and opinions that also prevented African American people, particularly students, from accessing opportunities in the state. The name Aycock is also ubiquitous throughout the city of Greensboro, North Carolina because of his economic influence during his term as governor. Yet over the past two years city councils, boards of trustees, and voters have deemed his name unfit for public spaces. This thesis follows debates surrounding the legacies of Aycock’s name and where his name is being preserved or removed in sections of Greensboro. It answers the following questions: Who determines whether or not Aycock’s name is removed? How are representations of these places changed once his name is removed? In response to these questions patterns in discourse are summarized using media reports and public records reporting name changes in Greensboro. Conclusions of this study portray intertwined political, economic, and emotional appeals in how people in Greensboro are actively changing the names and thus identities of these places.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Commemoration, Naming rights, Racism, Toponymy
Toponymy $x Social aspects $z North Carolina $z Greensboro $v Case studies
Auditoriums $z North Carolina $z Greensboro $x Names
Racism $z North Carolina $z Greensboro $x History
Aycock, Charles B. $q (Charles Brantley), $d 1859-1912
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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