Emory University, Claiming Racism, Drops Honorific Names of Two Alumni

Emory University, Georgia’s largest private college, has decided to drop the honorific names of two of its alumni, citing racism.

“Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves will rename campus spaces and professorships honoring Robert Yerkes, a psychologist who vigorously supported eugenics, and L.Q.C. Lamar, who was a staunch defender of slavery,” a statement from the school said. “The Yerkes National Primate Research Center will be known as the Emory National Primate Research Center, effective June 1. Professorships in the Emory School of Law named after Lamar will become the Emory School of Law Distinguished Professors.”

Emory declined to comment Friday, instead directing The Georgia Star News to the press release.

“Since joining Emory in 2020, I’ve engaged in many discussions about the history of our university. Our knowledge of who we are as an institution comes from questioning and learning,” Fenves said in the statement. “Each generation brings new meaning to a narrative that is continually being evaluated and written.”

Yerkes, described by the school as a eugenicist, was the first director of the Yerkes National Primary Research Center, the oldest scientific institute dedicated to nonhuman primate research. Before that, he was a prominent instructor at Yale University.

“This semester, I asked the Yerkes Center leadership to convene a group of faculty and staff to provide recommendations,” Fenves said in the letter. “Consequently, I have decided to change the name of the center to the Emory National Primate Research Center. The Emory Board of Trustees has approved changes to the names of the buildings, grounds and related signage to reflect the new name.”

Lamar was a Democrat Congressman from Mississippi in the 1800’s, and served as the United States Secretary of the Interior. He was born in Georgia and attended Emory. Despite siding with the Confederacy during the Civil War, he served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1888 until his death in 1893.

The University Committee on Naming Honors also recommended that Atticus Green Haygood’s name be removed from places of prominence on campus. He was a chaplain for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Ferves declined that recommendation.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gregory L. Fenves” by Emory University. Background Photo “Emory University” by Mpspqr.CC BY-SA 3.0.



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4 Thoughts to “Emory University, Claiming Racism, Drops Honorific Names of Two Alumni”

  1. Fireguy

    You know, I am really glad I don’t base my whole life on people or things that happen over 150 years ago. You really have have the brain of a piss ant to hang your hat on this kind of crap. Grown up !

  2. LM

    And by the way, all of those folks were Democrats.

  3. LM

    Bishop John Emory “owned” slaves. So, y’all going to change the name of the school, too? It’s only fair , you know.

  4. Il Professore

    Let’s unpack this story. A group of like-minded liberal woke college faculty was convened to come up with recommendations in furthering their philosophical agenda. So anyone or anything associated with the Confederate South is disparaged or renamed. No matter what this group opines, they lack the ability to change history. It is time to rid the universities of those holding faculty positions who forget academia and learning is not about them. It is not about their opinions or beliefs.