In the fall of 2020, the board of trustees of Meredith College, a liberal arts educational institution for women in Raleigh, North Carolina, engaged with historians, researchers, diversity consultants, and representative faculty, staff, and alumnae to begin a thorough and thoughtful review of building names on Meredithʼs campus.
Recently, the board announced that “Joyner Hall, is named for an individual who advocated for white supremacy and unequal funding for schools based on race. The racist ideas James Yadkin Joyner, who served as a trustee for 55 years, stood for throughout his lifetime, are antithetical to Meredith College’s mission, vision, and values.”
Joyner serve as superintendent of public instruction in North Carolina from 1902 to 1906 and spearheaded efforts to expand the state’s public school system. But he expressed views that supported scientific racism and advocated for unequal state appropriations for “Negro” schools. Buildings on campuses of state universities in North Carolina are also named for Joyner.
Joyner Hall on the campus of Meredith College will be now referred to as Lux Hall (meaning “light”) until the trustees endorse a new name. A portrait of Joyner, which had been displayed in what is now Lux Hall, has been removed to storage.
Meredith College enrolls about 1,500 undergraduate women and nearly 300 graduate students, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 9 percent of the undergraduate student body.