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Thursday May 26th

Unicornboro? Petition calls to change name of Carrboro

<p>The Town of Carrboro was incorporated 106 years ago, though it was then called Venable. It's now named after North Carolina industrialist and white supremacist Julian Carr.</p>
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The Town of Carrboro was incorporated 106 years ago, though it was then called Venable. It's now named after North Carolina industrialist and white supremacist Julian Carr.

A petition surfaced on Care2 Petitions to rename the town of Carrboro to Unicornboro, and has 26 signatures as of Monday night.

The petition's creator, Ralph G., stated on the petition website that he wanted to change the town name because of its namesake Julian Shakespeare Carr and his racist past. 

The petition motions for the change to Unicornboro because “Julian Carr was an outspoken white supremacist … and everyone knows that Unicorns are a lot Cooler than Carr ever was!” 

Alderman Damon Seils said he acknowledged the name change as something to look toward in the future, but said the work the Town of Carrboro has done has created a larger impact. 

“I think it’s really important for us to know our history and I think a lot of people in Carrboro are interested in understanding that history better,” he said. “We, on the board, have really taken on, I think, the task of trying to do some really hard work around the issue of racial equity."   

That “hard work” was outlined in the Board of Aldermen’s Resolution Against White Supremacy August 16th. Seils is proud of what Carrboro has developed and will continue to create.  

“I’m really proud of the way Carrboro has continued to step out on issues statewide and (of) national importance and to be a place where everyone can succeed and at least make a good life,” he said.

Alderman Bethany Chaney said she was not opposed to a name change, but she doesn't want that to overshadow potential systemic improvements.

“I think that (understanding Carrboro’s history),  that’s important," she said. "And more important to do before we entertain changing the name because changing the name doesn’t change anything else about (the) town and isn’t that what we’re trying to do if we are really seeking to be an anti-racist society."   

Chaney said she also believes Carrboro today is the opposite of what Julian Carr stood for.   

“I believe that Carrboro would be unrecognizable to Julian Carr today and in fact he might take a great issue with the way in which his namesake town has evolved,” she said.   

Pittsboro resident Jane Stolper, was in favor of the name change and said it brings light to a much larger issue today.    

“I love it. Here’s the thing,” Stolper said. “It seems like these acts of civil disobedience are so important to shine a light on the institutional racism that this country was built on. It’s so woven into the fabric of America that we don’t see it anymore.”   

“Anything that brings that stuff to people’s awareness I think is great. And I like unicorns, unicorns haven’t done anything to anybody.”            

More important than a name change, Seils said, is building the community.

"I think you could definitely say that the progressive reputation and community identity the people of Carrboro have worked hard to build is a way of sticking it to the legacy of Julian Carr," he said.


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