More than 100 students and community members gathered at the Silent Sam monument at noon Friday to demand Saunders Hall be renamed Hurston Hall, after prominent black writer Zora Neale Hurston.
“We are actively changing the name to Hurston Hall because Zora Neale Hurston was a student of UNC although she was an unofficial student before the University was integrated,” said Willie Wright, a geography graduate student. “It’s a way to acknowledge not only the students of color here now but the students before us.”
The rally opened with a march across the upper quad with protestors shouting “UNC calls for Hurston Hall.” Throughout the rally, students encouraged people to refer to Saunders Hall as Hurston Hall.
“It’s Hurston Hall to me already,” said Dylan Mott, an activist with the Silent Sam Coalition. “When I’m going to class and I’m going to that building, I’m going to Hurston Hall.”
Student activists read the speech given by industrialist Julian Carr at the dedication of the Silent Sam monument in 1913. In the speech, Carr said he “horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” for insulting a white woman.