Maryland - The University of Maryland Board of Regents today voted by a 12-5 count to change Byrd Stadium’s name to Maryland Stadium, thus removing the name of former school president Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd, an outspoken segregationist, from the facility.
“President Byrd is rightly regarded as ‘Father and Builder’ of UMD over a 43-year career here. He dramatically increased enrollment, faculty, funding, and the size of the campus. He laid the foundation for today’s achievements. He earned his place in our University’s history,” Loh wrote in recommending the name change earlier this week.
“He was also an ardent proponent of racial segregation and discrimination. To many African-American alumni and students, ‘Byrd Stadium’ — the ‘front porch’ of the institution, not the most important part of the educational house, but the most visible one — conveys a racial message hidden in plain sight,” Loh wrote.
Some opponents argued that Byrd, school president from 1935 to 1954, shouldn’t be held to today’s social standards. Loh, who formed an advisory committee of faculty and students before reaching his recommendation, disagreed — as did the board in today’s vote.
“The name stands as a vivid and painful reminder that a generation ago they were unwelcome on this campus. For them, this past is more than mere history. Their pursuit of inclusion and equal opportunity remains unfinished … History is not about the past. It concerns today’s debates about the past … Still, the world has changed.”
It’s kind of asinine to start changing the name of every building because it was named after a guy who lived in a different time, right? It’s like taking Washington off the 1 dollar bill cause he owned slaves. Nobody is saying it’s fucking sweet that he owned slaves (though in a vacuum, if we’re being real, real, of course having slaves to do all your shit for you would be sweet). Guess what? If you were rich and wealthy and trying to win votes when Byrd was, you’d probably have been a bit racist too. Different times, different social norms. It doesn’t take away from the fact he built Maryland from the ground up. Why not learn from his mistakes, instead of deleting him from our history?
And spare me the “vivid and painful reminder” bullshit. Guess what? Nobody at Maryland really knows who Byrd is anyway. Or who any of the people all the buildings are named after are. They probably all owned slaves, who knows? Which is why I don’t really care that they voted to change the name, I just think it’s pointless and silly to care.
PS: How long until it’s Kevin Plank Stadium at Kevin Plank field?