Who Is Julian Carr? Duke University Changing Name of Building Dedicated to Notorious Racist

A North Carolina university is set to remove the name of a notorious white supremacist from a building following the recommendations of a committee of students and staff.

Trustees at Duke University in Durham voted in favor of the committee's proposal Saturday. The move will see the Carr Building, which was dedicated to local industrialist and racist Julian Carr, called the Classroom Building, Duke Today reported.

"[The] white supremacist actions that Carr pursued throughout his life, even when considered in light of the time in which they were held, are inconsistent with the fundamental aspirations of this university, and removing the name will be a powerful statement that lifts up our values as a diverse and inclusive institution," the committee wrote in its report on the issue.

Duke's history department previously suggested the building be renamed for Raymond Gavins, the university's first African-American professor. Trustees are still considering that option "along with other meaningful ways to honor [distinguished individuals'] legacies," university president Vincent Price wrote in a statement. The board did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Price called Carr's legacy "complex" in a message published December 1. His philanthropy enabled a "small liberal arts school" to "transform into [a] great university," he said. "But this same person also actively promoted white supremacy through words and deeds that, even by the historic norms of the times, were extraordinarily divisive."

Born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1845, Carr was the son of prominent slave owner John Wesley Carr. An industrialist, he enjoyed success in tobacco manufacturing, textiles, publishing and utilities.

A vocal member of the Ku Klux Klan, Carr advocated lynching of African-Americans, the Herald Sun previously reported. He famously promoted white supremacy in a speech during University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's unveiling of a statue of a confederate soldier. In the speech, he described an incident in which he "horse-whipped" a black woman "until her skirts hung in shreds" after she allegedly insulted a "Southern lady."

In August, student protesters toppled the statue, known as "Silent Sam," which stood at the university for more than a century. UNC trustees are due to discuss the future of the statue Monday morning, The News & Observer reported.

Carr's donations allowed Trinity College to relocate from Randolph to Durham, where it became Duke University. Carr also gifted land to set up the Durham Public Library. His racist legacy is not mentioned on a historical account published on the Durham County Library website.

The businessman served in the Confederacy and became known unofficially as "General Carr." He was also active in politics, unsuccessfully running for the U.S. Senate in 1900. The North Carolina town of Carrboro is named after the highly controversial figure.