The University of Georgia has immortalized the names of three outstanding Black graduates after it renamed a new $50 million residence hall after them following agitations by students. According to the protesting Black students, the existing names on the university’s building affected their mental health and morale because they glorified white supremacists and slave owners.
Some of the students said walking through the residence halls felt like their feet being dragged on a sharp edge knowing it bore the name of white supremacists.
The advocacy for the change of name has been a long-running battle since 2013. The six-story building is now named Black-Diallo-Miller Hall in honor of Harold Alonza Black, Mary Blackwell Diallo and Kerry Rushin Miller, the first Black students to enroll as freshmen and complete their undergraduate degrees.
Black told the University of George News it was difficult walking into the University’s Reed Halls as a freshman 60 years ago. He observed that it would be more receptive for black students to now walk in the hall with their heads up knowing it’s representing black excellence.
“It was an interesting time, an interesting experience, and I want to thank everyone past and present who helped make that possible,” he said.
Black is the first Black student to have graduated from the University’s Terry College of Business. He is now a retired professor emeritus of the University of Tennessee after 24 years of impacting academia.
Diallo was the first Black student to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in French literature from the University of Georgia. She was the first African-American student from Athens to enroll at the university. She also retired after lecturing at Morehouse College and A&M University.
She was full of praise for the hundreds of individuals who made the renaming of the residence hall after them. According to her, the gesture is a recognition of their contributions to the university.
Miller graduated from the University of Georgia as the first Black to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1966.
After 29 years of service, Miller retired from BellSouth in North Carolina. She is the brainchild behind an innovative education program designed for at-risk elementary and middle school students in building self-esteem.