Target: James L. Shea, Chair of the University of Maryland Board of Regents
Goal: Rename the University of Maryland’s Byrd Stadium, which is named after a former university president that was a major supporter of racial segregation and discrimination.
The University of Maryland is considering renaming Byrd Stadium, an athletic stadium named after former university president H.C. “Curley” Byrd. Byrd was a major proponent of racial segregation and discrimination. Byrd’s name does not just signify prosperity but also racism. Demand that this stadium’s name be changed. Byrd’s name does not deserve to live on when he was blatantly closed minded and racist.
Defenders of keeping Byrd’s name say that his views were common of the time, but that doesn’t justify that his views were racist and bigoted and played a role in history for black Americans at the time. This is like lauding Hitler’s accomplishments despite his hateful views of Jewish people. In the end, even people with evil beliefs can do great things, and this must be acknowledged in the case of H.C. Byrd.
University of Maryland President, Wallace D. Loh, recommended a name change to the Board of Regents, noting that for many black students and alumni, the stadium “conveys a racial message hidden in plain sight.” Surely this is more important than defending a known racist. Urge the Board of Regents to rename Byrd Stadium.
Dear Chairman Shea,
The University of Maryland’s Byrd Stadium is named after a known racist who promoted racial segregation and discrimination. Despite H.C. “Curley” Byrd’s accomplishments for the university, his bigoted and frankly evil policies of holding back black Americans cannot be ignored.
America continues to become more and more diverse, and the horrors of our past cannot be ignored and also cannot be perpetuated through celebrating and honoring someone who held beliefs that shaped America’s racist history. I urge you to rename Byrd Stadium and take a stand against the racist past it represents.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Carmichael Library