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The Daily Tar Heel

Folt announces recontextualization of Kenan Memorial Stadium

kenan stadium

Kenan Memorial Stadium is named after William Rand Kenan Sr., the commander of a white supremacist unit that murdered at least 25 Black people in the Wilmington Massacre of 1898. 

UNC has decided to change the plaques in its football stadium honoring William R. Kenan Sr. following a report by The Daily Tar Heel on Kenan Sr.'s ties to the 1898 Wilmington Massacre. 

Kenan Sr.'s son, William R. Kenan Jr., was the donor who left his fortune to the University — a $95 million donation, which made the construction of the stadium possible. Kenan Jr. originally requested that the stadium be named in honor of his parents, but the University is now working with its History Task Force to focus on him instead, according to a statement released by Chancellor Carol Folt

The Wilmington Massacre was a coup planned by white militia, which killed anywhere between 60 and 300 Black citizens. Kenan Sr. wrote proudly of his prominent role in the massacre. He led a machine gun squad that was capable of firing 420 bullets per minute.  

Read more: The group behind Silent Sam and its historical relationship to UNC

The University spoke to the Kenan family to consult with them on the matter, according to the statement. Along with the History Task Force, the administration will be working in the coming weeks to make the changes. 

"Here too, we must acknowledge the realities of the present and the past," Folt said in the statement. "In the case of the Kenan family, their present impact has included helping Carolina build and retain a world-class faculty, a leading business school, a cutting-edge arts and music environment, as well as helping our university attract underrepresented populations into STEM fields and rural medicine, just to name a few."

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