NAACP Head: Beyond Names On Buildings, Education Builds Multicultural Respect, Recognition

May 12, 2017

As the University of Oregon deliberates what name will replace Frederick Dunn’s on a campus building, the head of the local NAACP says more needs to be done to honor African-Americans in Eugene.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports. 

Eugene-Springfield NAACP President Eric Richardson, at an October 2016 event.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

After sifting through 66 suggestions, a campus committee has narrowed its list down to four black finalists. 

Nellie Franklin, Derrick Bell (L to R, top row); Denorval Unthank Sr. and Denorval Unthank Jr (L to R, bottom row)

Derrick Bell was a former law school dean; Nellie Franklin was the first black woman to graduate from the university; Denorval Unthank Junior was the first black man to graduate from the architecture school, and Denorval Unthank Senior was a Portland doctor and civil rights activist.

One of these names will replace that of Frederick Dunn, a classics professor from the 1900s who was also a Ku Klux Klan leader. 

Frederick Dunn.
Credit Willamette.edu

Eric Richardson, President of the Eugene-Springfield NAACP, says it’s not enough to simply rename the building.

“How many people know about the contributions that these people have made?" asks Richardson.

"Do we teach these subjects in our high school, is this something that an average kid who grew up in Eugene, would they know about these individuals?  How about our city recognizing these things?” 

U of O President Michael Schill is expected to choose the new name in early June.

Brian Bull, KLCC News.