UNA student organizes protest calling for the renaming of Bibb Graves Hall


FLORENCE, Ala. — Demonstrations have taken place nationwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, all of them with one common goal—racial equality.

In the wake of those protests, other demonstrations calling for change have gained traction as well. UNA student Peyton Barrow created a Change.org petition to change the name of the school’s administration building, Bibb Graves Hall.

Although Graves was an advocate for state education, Barrow said the former governor’s involvement with the Ku Klux Klan tarnishes his name.

“In the modern-day era naming a building after him doesn’t do much for the diversity and inclusion that we want to have at UNA,” Barrow said.

Barrow’s petition has been active for several months and as of Wednesday, only had 80 signatures. By Friday afternoon, it had 2500.

“After the recent events of everything that’s happened with the protests, we really started getting a lot of involvement from the campus, from the community of Florence as a whole, and really just around the entire state,” Barrow said.

Barrow has organized a protest that will take place Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.  outside of Bibb Graves Hall on the UNA campus.

“The Constitution was written for moments like this,” Barrow said. “The Constitution was written so that when American citizens see an injustice, we’re allowed to step up and try to fight for what’s right.”

See below to read the university’s statement regarding the renaming process.

“We are aware and acknowledge student concerns related to the name of Bibb Graves Hall, so named for former Alabama Governor David Bibb Graves, on the University of North Alabama campus. We are committed to the principles of equality and justice, and that commitment includes ensuring that members of the UNA community are valued and heard. As a state-funded, public institution, a name change for certain campus buildings must follow state law and the mechanism it provides to make a name change. It’s a decision process that includes reviews by our Student Government Association, Faculty Senate, and Staff Senate, as well as our Board of Trustees.”

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