Furman University announces big changes after learning its historical ties to slavery

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Wednesday, Furman University’s board of trustees unanimously approved several recommendations from the Taskforce on Slavery and Justice after learning the school’s ties to slavery. 

Board member Baxter Wynn announced the recommendations the school plans to make in the future.

Listed are some of the more noticeable changes physically happening to the campus:

  • Removing “James C.” from James C. Furman Hall, to honor the entire Furman family who has contributed to the history of the school
  • Erecting a statue and a day of celebration to honor the first African American student at Furman University, Joseph Vaughn
  • Renaming the lakeside housing area “Clark Murphy Housing Complex” in honor of Clark Murphy, an African American who worked as a groundskeeper at the Greenville Woman’s College (which later merged with Furman)
  • Naming the Bell Tower walkway area “Abraham Sims Plaza” to honor Abraham Sims and other enslaved people who built and worked on Furman’s various campuses
  • Honoring Lillian Brock Flemming and Sara Reese, the first female African American students at Furman University. Their names will also be on programs relating to their respective fields of study
  • Provide markers and plaques throughout campus to honestly acknowledge the university’s complete and inclusive history about people who helped shape the school 

The task force, a special committee focused on Furman’s topics dealing with slavery and justice, was formed in spring of 2017. For more information about the university’schanges and discoveries, click here.

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