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Library removes name of white supremacist from branch

October 21, 2020 GMT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina library will remove the name of a former state governor from one of its branches because of his ties to white supremacy, officials said.

A Charlotte Mecklenburg Library branch near SouthPark mall is named after Gov. Cameron A. Morrison, who helped lead the white supremacy campaign of 1898 that terrorized Black people and led to policies of segregation, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Morrison Regional Library will now be named SouthPark Regional Library, according to a library news release.

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Library spokeswoman Ann Stawski said the change was recommended because of Morrison’s “documented actions that do not align with the library’s current statement on racism and inequity and internal policies.”

Morrison was a leader of the “Red Shirts,” a militant arm of the Democratic Party that kept black voters from going to the polls, sometimes by violence, The Observer reported.

One of Morrison’s campaign ads in 1920 said, “Cameron Morrison Fought a Glorious Fight For the Cause of White Supremacy in North Carolina in 1898-1900.”

Signs at the branch will be changed to reflect the new name in the coming months, officials said.

Library staff will also “remove and relocate collectibles” throughout the library system including a 1930s/1940s photo of Morrison’s farm and a lithograph of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room.

“Systemic racism and inequity have no place in public libraries other than as recorded history to remind us how we got to this moment in time,” Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO Lee Keesler said. “As a trusted institution, we are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone in our community.”