FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Amid the national movement to purge university and college campuses of symbols honoring figures with checkered pasts, the University of Arkansas Education Foundation and Local 965 Union called for UA administrators to rename a dining hall associated with a former governor.
“The local declared that Brough’s role in the Elaine Massacre of 1919, in which an estimated 150 to 400 African Americans were killed by white mobs in Phillips County, ‘renders him unworthy to be celebrated on a campus that prides itself on being welcoming to students, staff, and faculty of all races,’” union representatives wrote in a press release.
The Brough Dining Hall is named for Charles H. Brough, who served as Arkansas’ governor from 1917-1921. The Elaine Massacre happened in 1919, and the Local 965 said the governor didn’t do enough to seek justice in that historically-significant massacre.
“The…governor, failed to secure justice to the victims by attempting to cover up the murders of African Americans and blaming union members and their allies for the deaths of the five white men, and refusing to commute the sentences of the African Americans who were unjustly convicted of killing the five white men,” according to the press release.
The Local 965 touted Wiley Branton, a former civil rights attorney who graduated from the UA law school, as a replacement option.
“Branton, a native of Pine Bluff and World War II veteran, played a critical role in the integration of the University of Arkansas,” according to the press release. “He travelled to Fayetteville in 1948 to help his friend Silas Hunt enroll at the U of A Law School then a few years later matriculated himself. Following his graduation in 1953, Branton (1923-1988) emerged as one of the nation’s foremost civil rights attorneys.”