The Task Force
McCorkle Place is the second directive Folt gave the task force, which she announced in a statement to campus in September 2015.
The first task was the contextualization behind the BOT’s decision to rename Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall. They created an exhibit for the lobby of Carolina Hall, completed in November 2016, explaining the broader history of William Saunders in the state and the University.
Now, the task force is tackling McCorkle, using the space and monuments within it to tell the history of the University before, around and after its founding in the 18th century. They developed a three-step plan to be enacted through telling those three main stories.
“When you think about those three pieces, there’s been a lot of context around them,” Hertel said. “So the idea is that we create some context around them in some form of signage that would be fitting with the space, and at the same time creating an electronic access to really tell the deeper stories.”
In September, Leloudis presented the preliminary timeline to the BOT for the McCorkle project — the first step being the Unsung Founders memorial, which he said is in need of repair and renovation.
“The (University) has engaged a landscape architect firm who will be bringing preliminary proposals to think about how to make that a more reverential and contemplative space that advances its original intent,” Leloudis said.
He said that part of the project will hopefully be complete by May 2018.
Mike McFarland, director of university relations, said the task force updates the BOT continuously on progress of the project, and plans are in the works to share those details with the campus.
Advisory committees will also be engaged to receive feedback from the community; Crisp works most with engaging students and members of the campus.
Following the renovation and repair will come the contextualization, done in the form of signage around the monuments and throughout the space.
While the project will begin with the story of those who were enslaved at the University’s founding, Leloudis said the task force will also place signs detailing the history of the indigenous people this land belonged to originally.
“There were people on this hill before the University was even established,” Hertel said. “We are lifting that story up because that story’s never been told.”
The plan is then to establish similar signage around the Confederate Monument, Silent Sam, the story the campus — and nation — want most to be told.
“The Confederate Monument is the complex one in terms of what we can and can’t do,” Leloudis said. “But we are doing the research and documentation.”
Leloudis said he and his colleagues welcome the current conversation around Silent Sam and the questions regarding its history.
“This is a University that was founded in the late 18th century that was founded in a slave society,” Leloudis said. “This is a University that sits on land that was expropriated from people. This is a University that was shaped in the era of Jim Crow. There are hard things in our history, and these are complex stories, these are very nuanced stories. These are not straightforward and simple morality tales, good or bad.”