Petition to change UA building to honor Harper Lee gains momentum

Local News

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Following the death of beloved author and Alabama native Harper Lee, students on the University of Alabama campus created an online petition to have the campus’s English building renamed in her honor.

The building is currently known as Morgan Hall, named after a six-term Alabama senator and Confederate Army General, John Tyler Morgan.

Harper Lee attended the University of Alabama School of Law from 1945-1949.  On Friday, the University of Alabama released a statement:The University of Alabama extends its sympathy to Nelle Harper Lee’s family and friends and the millions of readers of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Miss Lee will continue to serve as an inspiration for many generations of writers, and we proudly claim her as one of our own.

Students are also eager to claim the Pulitzer Prize winner as one of their own, too.

The petition reads, in part: “The university has an amazing chance to show our support for racial equality, as well as to honor the legacy generally of a woman who promoted kindness and empathy for all.  Lee was doubtless the University’s greatest contribution to literature, and it would have been more than fitting for our English building to bear her name, which reflects so much more accurately the values of the University of Alabama than that of white supremacist John Tyler Morgan.”

The petition already has over 1,700 signatures.

“I think there’s a lot of stuff going on on this campus that she would be proud of,” said Assistant Professor of Literature, Dr. James Crank.  “The ‘We Are Done Movement,’ which is challenging some of the issues about diversity on this campus…the conversations, the hard conversations that our students are having–she would have been proud of those voices, because that’s the kind of person she was.”

On Friday, Crank said that the uniform opinion on campus seemed to be that something needed to be done to honor Lee’s memory on campus, and as an alumni.

“That spirit is still in our students,” he said.  “We want to make that visible again.”

To sign the petition, or to get more information click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.