In July 2020, the chairpersons of the history, sociology, political science and peace, war and defense departments all signed a letter to the Chancellor requesting that Hamilton Hall be renamed after Pauli Murray.
The department leaders decided to symbolically rename the current Hamilton building after Murray, and recommended that the Commission on History, Race and a Way Forward work to make the change official.
Now, over a year later, the renaming process is still incomplete.
Murray, the proposed namesake, applied to the UNC doctoral program in sociology in 1938, but was denied admission because they were Black. Murray went on to be a celebrated scholar, orator, author, historian, attorney, priest and activist.
According to the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice, “Murray’s legal arguments and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution were winning strategies for public school desegregation, women’s rights in the workplace, and an extension of rights to LGBTQ+ people ... "
A statement from the department chairpersons who recommended Murray’s name said Murray represents an immutable spirit of scholarship and public service.
"... (Murray) made major contributions to our society in the face of nearly insurmountable resistance,” the letter said.
Following the renaming recommendation, the Commission on History, Race and Way Forward recommended Hamilton Hall for renaming to an ad hoc committee.
That ad hoc committee is now in the process of making a recommendation to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz on the renaming of any buildings that have been recommended by resolution to be renamed, according to UNC Media Relations.