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Middleton family against LSU's decision to change main library's name

5 months 1 week 5 days ago Friday, June 12 2020 Jun 12, 2020 June 12, 2020 7:06 AM June 12, 2020 in News
Source: The Advocate

BATON ROUGE - On Thursday afternoon, Governor John Bel Edwards spoke in support of LSU's decision to rename its main library due to the discovery of at least one seemingly prejudiced letter written by the library's namesake, former LSU President, Troy H. Middleton. 

But not everyone approves of the school's decision.

According to The Advocate, descendants of Middleton are denouncing the university's move to change Middleton Library's name.

One day after LSU announced its decision, members of the Middleton family released the following statement to The Advocate:

"General Troy Middleton was an American hero and Louisiana icon. We expressly and unequivocally denounce the university's dishonorable plan to remove his name and memorials from the very library the funds for which he led the university's effort to obtain from the state legislature.

We encourage the public to reach out personally to each member of the Board of Supervisors, and to the Governor's office, to express their outrage at this proposed defenestration.

We further encourage the Board of Supervisors to take this opportunity to make a principled stand against erasure of this great state's history."

LSU was encouraged to change the library's name by its black student leaders and members of the public following a global outcry against racial injustice. 

Throughout the end of May and early June, in cities across the world, demonstrators marched in protest of police brutality against blacks and toppled statues of prominent figures known for their prejudice views and mistreatment of African Americans. 

The demonstrations were triggered by the Memorial Day murder of an unarmed black man named George Floyd, who was killed by a Minnesota police officer while other officers looked on without stepping in. 

When protests against unfair treatment of African Americans reached the Capital City, LSU students approached the university's leaders and pointed out that its main library's namesake, though a prominent figure, was known for making negative comments about African Americans.

The students highlighted Middleton's seemingly prejudice views by way of a 1961 letter he'd written to former University of Texas Chancellor Harry Ransom. One of Middleton's comments in the letter included his wish to keep black students "in a given area."

Middleton was the university's president from 1951 to 1962.

The LSU Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss the name change at its June 19 meeting.

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