On Monday, June 22, the NC State Board of Trustees moved to rename Daniels Hall, named for Josephus Daniels, the Raleigh News & Observer Editor in 1894, who was a known white supremacist. The change comes after the Daniels family requested that the removal of Josephus Daniels’ statue from Nash Square and Daniels Middle School’s name change to Oberlin Middle School.
The announcement also follows petitions calling for the UNC-System to change the names of buildings named after white supremacists and racists.
Daniels used his platform at the Raleigh News & Observer to promote white supremacist views and the racist agenda of the Democratic Party, which, at the time, was revoking the rights Black Americans regained after the Civil War. This includes Daniels’s role in the Wilmington Massacre, in which as many as 300 Black Americans were murdered and their businesses burned down by white supremacists.
“We know that Josephus Daniels had strong ties to white supremacy, and used the platform the Raleigh News & Observer gave him to promote the values of white supremacy,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said during the meeting.
In the Board of Trustees meeting, Woodson said the building was named after Daniels in 1938 because of the support he showed NC State’s electrical engineering program. Daniels also served as a trustee for the university and was a member of the Watauga Club, which played a significant role in founding the university .
“A building named in Josephus Daniels’ honor is in complete opposition to the values of NC State, and is contrary to the best interest of our university as it serves as a constant reminder of this painful chapter in our state’s history,” Woodson said.
Woodson and the Board moved to remove the name “Daniels” from the building, but opted to not immediately rename the building, arguing much of the building is unoccupied currently.
“The building needs extensive renovations before any departments or units move into the space, and we don’t currently have funds for this renovation or even permanent plans in place for programs to be housed in the building once renovation is complete,” Woodson said. “We would differ the selection of a new name for the building until after those renovations are complete and we understand how the space would be used.”
Woodson said they had extensive conversations with the Daniels family about renaming the building, and the family understands the need and importance of this decision.
In his closing remarks, Woodson said NC State’s naming process is an important topic and policy updates regarding naming strategy will be implemented by the board in the fall to address renaming buildings in the future.