Wingate University in North Carolina has formed a committee to determine “next steps” after it was discovered that the university is named after a slaveholder, WBTV reports.
“This truth hurts,” Wingate University President Rhett Brown said in a press release. “It casts a shadow over our university, my alma mater, and is not in keeping with who we are today, what we value and how we strive to be more inclusive for the students who study here and the people who work here.”
The news comes just a few days after Wake Forest announced that it would rename a portion of its Wait Chapel from Wingate Hall to May 7, 1860 Hall. The date reflects when 16 enslaved people were given to the university were sold under the leadership of then-president Washington Manly Wingate.
“Wingate” was suggested as the name of the school 17 years after Manly Wingate’s death by the son of an inaugural trustee, who was teaching at Wake Forest at the time.
According to Wake Forest sociology professor Joseph Soares, it was found that “every president of Wake Forest until the Civil War had enslaved human beings under him.” That includes Manly Wingate.
“While we can’t erase history, we can learn from it,” said Dr. Joe Patterson, Board of Trustees chair. “The Board of Trustees eagerly awaits the group’s recommendations on how to move forward.”