North Carolina prisons rename locations over racist stories

Prison (Photo: WNCN)

RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Four North Carolina state prisons and a drug treatment center for probationers change names due to stories related to racism or slavery, the Department of Justice said Thursday. Public Security.

The name changes, which take effect Monday, follow a review by the department over the past year of the historical background to the names of nearly 1,900 buildings in complexes owned or operated by the department.

Two of the five facilities were named after 20th century governors Cameron Morrison and Gregg Cherry.

The adjustments reflect a recent nationwide reassessment of the names of government buildings linked to issues of racism and oppression.

“These changes are being made to better reflect the diversity of modern society,” State Prison Commissioner Todd Ishee said in a press release. “Nowadays, it is unacceptable to keep names of establishments with negative historical connotations. “

Morrison Correctional Facility in Hoffman will become the Richmond Correctional Facility, while DART Cherry Residential Treatment Facility in Goldsboro will simply be the DART Center.

Morrison, who served as governor from 1921 to 1925, was at the end of the 19th century the leader of the “Red Shirts,” whose members intimidated black voters and supported white supremacy.

Cherry, the governor from 1945 to 1949, had “advocated for the removal of civil rights from the Democratic Party platform,” the department said.

The agency said the Caledonia Correctional Facility in Tillery would become the Roanoke River Correctional Facility. Polk Correctional Institution in Butner will be renamed Granville Correctional Institution. And the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Center in Black Mountain will become the Western Women’s Correctional Center.

Caledonia refers to a pre-war plantation on prison property where slaves worked in the fields, the department said. Polk is linked to William Polk, an Independence War officer who owned slaves, while Swannanoa refers to the construction of a tunnel in Asheville which resulted in the deaths of many black prisoners who worked there at the end of the 1800s.

Workers at the five facilities, many of whom are black, were instrumental in the name change.

“I firmly believe that they shouldn’t have to work in facilities named to honor those who may have oppressed their ancestors,” Ishee said.

Morrison is perhaps best known as a “good highway governor” for his efforts to get the legislature to borrow money to build a modern highway system.

Some historians have described Cherry as having a moderate streak on race issues, in part refusing to join the “Dixiecrat” movement within the National Democratic Party that led Strom Thurmond to run for president in 1948 as a candidate. third.

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