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October 1, 2018

Richard V. Riddell
Senior Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708

Dear Secretary Riddell:

We write as alumni/ae of the Duke University Department of History to support the recent
faculty proposal to remove the name of Julian Carr from the building at 1356 Campus Drive.
Those of us who studied at Duke after the history department moved to the Carr Building in the
early 1990s spent countless hours there honing the skills we needed to become historians. Of all
of the lessons we learned within those walls, one of the most crucial was that historians are
obligated to contribute to public debates about how the study of history informs the
memorialization of the past and prepares society for the future. The irony that we did this work
in a building named for Julian Carr has long been uncomfortable. It has now become unbearable.
As part of a growing national conversation about the enduring legacies of white supremacy and
racism, we believe Duke can best contribute to this discussion by replacing Carr’s
commemoration with a tribute to Dr. Raymond Gavins, whose own life, career, and scholarship
serve as models for our university community.

Julian Carr’s life and legacy, like those of every historical figure, are undeniably complex. A
successful industrialist, he contributed the land that would eventually become East Campus. The
roots of his wealth and philanthropic activities, however, demand deeper scrutiny. Carr was a
slaveholder before the Civil War and remained a lifelong, ardent white supremacist. Well into
the 20th century, he spoke approvingly and nostalgically of slavery. Fearful of an alliance
between Black and white workers, Carr helped finance the self-described “White Supremacy
Campaign” led by News and Observer publisher Josephus Daniels that culminated in the
Wilmington Coup of 1898. During the coup, several thousand armed white Democrats overthrew
a democratically elected, biracial coalition of Republicans and Populists, a violent action that
claimed as many as three hundred lives and destroyed Wilmington’s predominantly Black
neighborhood. Carr subsequently campaigned for a state constitutional amendment to
disenfranchise Black citizens, declaring, “North Carolina’s slogan shall be the White man shall
rule the land or die.” Yet as an employer and public figure, Carr was adept at cloaking his white
supremacy in the garments of civility. His support of Black schools and the Black-owned North
Carolina Mutual Insurance Company formed part of a strategy of paternalistic benevolence that
accompanied his considerable efforts to institutionalize the political, social, and economic
domination of Black North Carolinians.

Carr has gained newfound notoriety amid the controversy surrounding “Silent Sam” at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As historians have uncovered, he dedicated the
statue in 1913 with a speech that fondly related an 1865 episode in which he had “horse-whipped
a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” because she had “publicly maligned and insulted a
Southern lady.” As Carr’s speech demonstrates, the erection of Confederate monuments in the
first quarter of the 20th century was part of a deliberate effort to obfuscate the past. Carr and his
colleagues worked to impose, in granite and bronze, a historical misrepresentation of an Old
South comprised of happy slaves and beneficent masters; the unanimous support of white
Southerners for slavery and secession; the Civil War as a reluctant battle to “defend Southern
homes”; and a corrupt and dangerous Reconstruction period. These lies served to justify and
maintain white supremacy. Neither Duke’s history department, nor indeed any department at an
institution dedicated to eruditio et religio, should be housed in a building that honors someone
whose major legacy was to impose, with startling success, historical falsehoods that continue to
haunt our nation.

A special irony of the Carr Building is that when the history department moved there in the
1990s, Professor Raymond Gavins and his colleagues were in the midst of building a reputation
as one of the premier departments dedicated to studying the experience of and resistance to the
Jim Crow order that Julian Carr worked so hard to erect. Indeed, the case to change the Carr
Building’s name is made even more compelling by the proposal that it be renamed for Professor
Gavins. Dr. Gavins, the first African American on Duke’s history faculty and one of the
University of Virginia’s first Black Ph.D. recipients, was a key architect of many of the most
important initiatives in the history of the department, including early oral history projects, the
Center for Documentary Studies, and the Behind the Veil project, all of which documented the
experiences of African Americans in North Carolina. He was famed both for his scholarly
production (which included two books, an edited volume, and at least seventy-seven other
publications) and his activism in the Civil Rights Movement.

For us associated with Duke, Dr. Gavins’ greatest legacy is arguably his forty-six years dedicated
to training students whose historical scholarship, like that of their mentor, refuted the legacy and
narrative of white supremacy. One former doctoral student remembers him “as a man who
possessed deep, extensive historical knowledge, a strong sense of integrity, and admirably high
and consistent expectations for his students.” While renowned and appreciated for demanding
the kind of academic rigor that yields excellence, Dr. Gavins also “made all students in the
classroom feel like equal partners in the advancement of knowledge and understanding.” The
large numbers of mourners who remembered him at memorial services at Durham’s Mount
Level Missionary Baptist Church and later at Duke reflected his contributions to scrupulous
scholarly inquiry in researching and writing historical narratives, as well as activism for African
American equality.

We write, therefore, as representatives of the generations of alumni/ae who learned from


Professor Gavins our passionate engagement with the voices of the past. A history department
building named in honor of Dr. Gavins rather than Julian Carr is not, as some might claim, an
“erasure” or “sanitizing” of history; historical erasure is, in fact, the legacy of Carr. Rather,
renaming the Carr Building affirms history as the pursuit of truth about the past, in order to better
understand the past and therefore build a better present and future, guided by role models like Dr.
Raymond Gavins.

Sincerely,
Bryan Pitts, Ph.D. 2013 Waldo E. Martin, Jr., B.A. 1973
Associate Director, Center for Latin American and Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of
Caribbean Studies, Indiana University History, University of California, Berkeley

Corinna Zeltsman, Ph.D. 2016 Anne-Marie Angelo, M.A. 2007, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of History, Georgia Southern 2013
University Lecturer in American History, University of Sussex

Jacob Remes, M.A. 2006, Ph.D. 2010 Julia Gaffield, Ph.D. 2012
Clinical Assistant Professor, Gallatin School of Assistant Professor, Georgia State University
Individualized Study, New York University

Fahad Bishara, Ph.D. 2012


Elizabeth Shesko, Ph.D. 2012 Assistant Professor, History, University of Virginia
Assistant Professor of History, Oakland University

Ian Lekus, M.A. 1996, Ph.D. 2003


Yuridia Ramírez, M.A. 2015, Ph.D. 2018 LGBT Thematic Specialist, Amnesty International
Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of USA
Illinois (18-19); Assistant Professor of Latina/o
Studies and Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami
University Paul Ortiz, Ph.D. 2000
Associate Professor of History, University of Florida
Meggan Farish Cashwell, M.A. 2014
Ph.D. Candidate (expected 2018), Department of Charles McKinney, M.A. 1993, Ph.D.
History, Duke University 2003
Associate Professtor of History and Director of
Reena Goldthree, M.A. 2005, Ph.D. 2011 Africana Studies, Rhodes College
Assistant Professor of African American Studies,
Princeton University Heather Streets-Salter, B.A. 1991, Ph.D.
1998
Crystal R. Sanders, B.A. 2005 Professor, Northeastern University History
Associate Professor of History and African American Department
Studies, Penn State Univeristy
Judith Miller, Ph.D. 1987
Brad Snyder, B.A. 1994 Associate Professor, Emory University
Professor of Law, Georgetown University
Sara M. Evans, B.A. 1966, M.A. 1968
Alexander X. Byrd, Ph.D. 2001 Regents Professor Emerita, History Department,
Associate Professor of History, Rice University University of Minnesota

Alisha Hines, Ph.D. 2018 Nathan N. Orgill, Ph.D. 2009


Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University Associate Professor of History, Georgia Gwinnett
College
Vanessa Freije, Ph.D. 2015
Assistant Professor of International Studies, Thomas D. Rogers, M.A. 2001, Ph.D. 2005
University of Washington Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
in History, Emory University
Daniel Bessner, Ph.D. 2013
Pyle Assistant Professor in American Foreign Policy, Blair L.M. Kelley, M.A. 1998, Ph.D. 2003
University of Washington Assistant Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies, Associate
Professor of History, North Carolina State University
Kirsten Fischer, Ph.D. 1994 Philip F. Rubio, Ph.D. 2006
Associate Professor of History, University of Professor of History, North Carolina A&T State
Minnesota University

Marie Hicks, Ph.D. 2009 Daniel Levinson Wilk, Ph.D. 2005


Associate Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology Professor of American History, Fashion Institute of
Technology
Amanda Hughett, Ph.D. 2017
Postdoctoral Fellow, Baldy Center for Law & Social Elizabeth Fenn, B.A. 1981
Policy, SUNY-Buffalo Walter and Lucienne Driskill Professor of Western
American History
Noeleen McIlvenna, Ph.D. 2004
Professor, History, Wright State University Rupinder Legha MD, B.A. 2001
Assistant Research Scientist, UCLA
Wesley Hogan, Ph.D. 2000
Director, Center for Documentary Studies Dominique Bregent-Heald, Ph.D. 2004
Associate Professor, Memorial University of
Orion Teal, M.A. 2007, Ph.D. 2012 Newfoundland
Assistant Professor of History, El Camino College
Jody Pavilack, Ph.D. 2003
Myrna Ivonne Wallace Fuentes, M.A. Associate Professor of History, University of
Montana
1999, Ph.D. 2006
Associate Professor of History, Roanoke College
Scott Ellsworth, M.A. 1977, Ph.D. 1982
Writer; Lecturer, University of Maryland
Craig C. Felker, Ph.D. 2004
Executive Director, Society for Military History
Alisa Harrison, Ph.D. 2008
Associate Faculty, Royal Roads University, and
Michael Becker, M.A. 2015 Principal, A. Harrison Research and Consulting
Ph.D. candidate, Duke University

Jeanette Wood Crowley, M.A. 2007,


Gordon Mantler, Ph.D. 2008
Associate Professor of Writing and of History, Ph.D. 2011
George Washington University Academic Dean, Trinity College, Duke University

Alejandro Velasco, Ph.D. 2009 Mitch Fraas, Ph.D. 2011


Associate Professor, New York University Curator, Special Collections, University of
Pennsylvania

Robert Penner, Ph.D. 2012


Celia E. Naylor, M.A. 1993, Ph.D. 2001
Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies,
Jonathan Bird, Ph.D. 2013 Barnard College, Columbia University
JP Morgan Chase
Christienna D. Fryar, B.A. 2005
Rochelle Rojas, Ph.D. 2016 Lecturer of the history of slavery and unfree labour,
Assistant Professor, Kalamazoo College University of Liverpool

Daniel H. Usner, Ph.D. 1981 Caroline Light, B.A. 1991


Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Program in Women,
Vanderbilt University Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Kathryn Barrett-Gaines, M.A. (Cultural Jennifer L. Welsh, Ph.D. 2009
Anthropology) 1995 Associate Professor of History, Lindenwood
Associate Professor of African and African American University-Belleville
History, University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Mary Ellen Curtin, Ph.D. 1992
Stephanie Yuhl, Ph.D. 1998 Associate Professor of History and Director of
Professor of History, College of the Holy Cross American Studies, American University, Washington
D.C.
Anthony B. Cashman, III, Ph.D. 1999
Director of Distinguished Fellowships and Graduate Paige Raibmon, M.A. 1997, Ph.D. 2000
Studies, College of the Holy Cross Professor, Department of History, University of
British Columbia
Monica H. Green, History faculty 1987-
2001 Jane E. Mangan, Ph.D. 1999
Davidson College

James A. Palmer, M.A. 2003


Assistant Professor, Florida State University Marjoleine Kars, B.A. 1982, Ph.D. 1994
Associate Professor of History, University of
Maryland Baltimore County
Adriana M. Brodsky, Ph.D 2004
Professor, St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Colleen Seguin, M.A. 1989, Ph.D. 1997
Associate Professor of History, Valparaiso University
Katharine French-Fuller, Ph.D. 2012
Director of Research, Center for Community
Engaged Learning, Weber State University Ryan Poe, 6 years (no terminal degree)
Frontend Engineer, PetSafe

Eric Brandom, Ph.D. 2012


Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, Ph.D. 1993
Professor of History, Saint Mary's College of
Paul L. Krause, M.A. 1981, Ph.D. 1987 California
Associate Professor of History Emeritus, The
University of British Columbia
Charles C. Bolton, M.A. 1986, Ph.D. 1989
Professor of History and Associate Dean, Arts and
Kevin W. Fogg, B.A. 2005 Sciences, University of North Carolina Greensboro
Albukhary Foundation Fellow and Islamic Centre
Lecturer, Faculty of History, University of Oxford
Anne Valk, Ph.D. 1996
Associate Director for Public Humanities, Williams
Zane Curtis-Olsen, B.A. with honors 2005 College
Social Studies Professor, Bard High School Early
College Queens
Clifford Andrew Welch, Ph.D. 1990
Professor, Contemporary Brazilian History, Federal
Gwenn Miller, Ph.D. 2004 University of São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Associate Professor of History, College of the Holy
Cross
Kelly Kennington, M.A. 2004, Ph.D. 2009
Associate Professor, Auburn University
Paula Hastings, Ph.D. 2010
Assistant Professor of History, University of Toronto
Betsy Stephens Ellsworth, M.A. 1995
Director of College Counseling, Greenhills School
Erin Parish, M.A. 2009
Design Strategist, City of Durham
Tamara Extian-Babiuk, Ph.D. 2013
Jessica Harland-Jacobs, M.A. 1995, Ph.D. Felicity Turner, Ph.D. 2010
2000 Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University
Associate Professor, University of Florida
Kecia Ali, History doctoral student 1993-
Willeke Sandler, Ph.D. 2012 1996 (M.A. & Ph.D. Religion, 2000 &
2002)
Daniel Clark, Ph.D. 1989 Professor of Religion, Boston University
Associate Professor of History, Oakland University
Daniella Kostroun, Ph.D. 2000
Woody Holton, Ph.D. 1990 Associate Professor in History, IUPUI
McCausland Professor, USC
Jake Selwood, Ph.D., 2003
Barry Rigby, Ph.D 1978 Associate Professor of History, Georgia State
Senior Research Analyst, Waitangi Tribunal, New University
Zealand
Patricia Wood, Ph.D. 1995
Karlyn Forner, Ph.D. 2014 Professor, York University, Toronto

Mark Healey, Ph.D. 2000 Keona K. Ervin, B.A. 2001


Associate Professor, University of Connecticut Associate Professor of History, University of
Missouri
Kathryn R. Dungy, M.A. 1993, Ph.D.
2000 Emily Sauter, J.D. M.A. 2009
Associate Professor of History, Saint Michael’s Attorney
College
Andrea Franzius, Ph.D. 2006.
Andrew Neather, M.A. 1989, Ph.D. 1994
Head of Communications, Crossrail 2, London Jay Samuel Levin, B.A. with distinction
2008
Treva Lindsey, M.A. 2006, Ph.D. 2010 Attorney
Associate Professor, Ohio State University
Derek Chang, Ph.D. 2002
Patrick McElwee, M.A. 2012 Associate Professor of History and Asian American
Studies, Cornell University
David Romine, Ph.D. 2018
Postdoc Research Associate with the Samuel Dubois Christina Cecelia Davidson, Ph.D. 2017
Cook Center on Social Equity Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Jennifer L. Morgan, Ph.D. 1996 Claire Antone Payton, Ph.D. 2018


Professor, New York University Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Virginia

Herman L. Bennett, Ph.D. 1993 Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Ph.D. 2002


Professor, The Graduate Center, CUNY Professor, Harvard University

Karen Ferguson, M.A. 1992, Ph.D. 1996 Arthur Smith, M.A. 1998, Ph.D. 2006
Professor of History and Urban Studies, Simon Alan B. '53 and Elizabeth Heekin Harris Head Coach
Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada of Women's Track and Field, Cornell University

Eric Weber, Ph.D. 2012 Heather Pace, Ph.D. 2011


Paul Husbands, Ph.D. 2007 James Bissett, Ph.D., 1989
Professor of History, Elon University
George Williamson Dameron, B. A. 1975
Professor of History, Coordinator of the Humanities Edyn Jessup, B.A. 1999
Program, Saint Michael's College (Colchester,
Vermont) Matthew Countryman, Ph.D. 1999
Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African
Heidi Scott Giusto, Ph.D. 2012 Studies, American Culture and History, and Chair
Owner/Lead Consultant, Career Path Writing Deptartment of Afroamerican and African Studies,
Solutions University of Michigan

Mary Lethert Wingerd, M.A. 1993, Ph.D. Michael Stauch, Ph.D. 2015
1998 Assistant Professor, University of Toledo
Professor of History Emerita, St. Cloud State
University Tricia Ross, Ph.D. 2017
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Jon Sensbach, Ph.D. 1992
Professor of History, University of Florida Claudio Saunt, M.A. 1991, Ph.D. 1996
Russell Professor of History, University of Georgia
David C. Carter, Ph.D. 2001
Associate Professor of History, Auburn University Max Krochmal, Ph.D. 2011
Associate Professor of History, Texas Christian
William D. Cohan, B.A. with honors 1981 University
Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair
Jonathon Free, Ph.D. 2017
David Massell, Ph.D. 1997 Lecturing Fellow and Assistant Director for Research
Professor of History, University of Vermont Development, Duke University Energy Initiative

Vincent Brown, Ph.D. 2002 Linda Rupert, Ph.D. 2006


Charles Warren Professor of American History and Associate Professor, Department of History, UNC
Professor of African and African American Studies, Greensboro (for identification purposes only)
Harvard University
Ashley L. Elrod, Ph.D. 2017
Hasan Kwame Jeffries, M.A. 1997, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of History, Northeastern Illinois
University
2002
Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State
University Christina Greene, Ph.D. 1996
Professor and Chair, Afro-American Studies
Department, University of Wisconsin (Madison)
Kara Miles Turner, Ph.D. 2001
Vice President Enrollment Management and Student
Success, Morgan State University Michael Weiner, B.A. 1991
President, The Counting Company
Kirsten Delegard, Ph.D. 1999
Director, Mapping Prejudice Project, University of Debra Horner, B.A. 1991
Minnesota Research program Manager and lecturer at the
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Stephanie Smallwood, Ph.D. 1999
Associate Professor of History, University of Elesha Coffman, Ph.D. (Religion) 2008
Washington Assistant professor of history, Baylor University

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