Davidson College Decides to Keep the Name of an Enslaver on a Main Campus Building

Davidson College in North Carolina has decided not to rename Chambers Building, the main academic structure on campus. The building is named for Maxwell Chambers who made a contribution to the college in 1855 that allowed the educational institution to continue operations.

Chambers’ business included acquiring and selling plantations, which made him a trafficker of enslaved persons. Davidson College received at least five enslaved persons from Chambers.

“Maxwell Chambers’ history is the college’s history,” said Doug Hicks, president of Davidson College. “The hard reality is that nearly every person associated with Davidson — presidents, trustees, professors, and benefactors — were implicated in the institution of slavery. Simply put, almost all of them were slaveholders. Every name in the college’s early history is associated with enslavement. Removing the name from this building would not expunge our history, and having the name remain requires us each day to account for it, to never forget.”

President Hicks added that it is “our responsibility in the present is to talk about it, teach it and make sure it never happens again. We are called to educate our community about this history, and to expand the college outreach and reconciliation work toward descendants of those who were enslaved.”

The college announced that it is establishing a new Committee on Education and Reconciliation to guide and support the college’s strategic efforts in understanding its history and building an inclusive Davidson College community. Davidson will establish permanent exhibits to convey the full history of Maxwell Chambers. Davidson also will expand its efforts to identify, reach out to, and build connections with descendants of those enslaved by Chambers and other founders and benefactors of the college.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

North Carolina A&T State University Mounts Effort to Educate Heirs Property Owners

Heirs property is land passed down through a family, often over multiple generations and to numerous descendants, without the use of wills or probate courts. In North Carolina, the value of land owned as heirs property is estimated at nearly $1.9 billion. Heirs property is disproportionately held by Black landowners.

Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

New Legislation Aims to Boost Entrepreneurial Efforts of HBCU Students

Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-05) has introduced the Minority Entrepreneurship Grant Program Act, bipartisan legislation that creates a grant program with the Small Business Administration for entrepreneurs at minority-serving institutions like historically Black colleges and universities.

Featured Jobs