Dickinson College renames campus spaces to honor formerly enslaved people who contributed to the school.


Dickinson College renames campus spaces in honor of formerly enslaved people who helped the school.

Dickinson College’s community came together on Saturday to celebrate the renaming of a residence hall and a campus gate in honor of former slaves who helped shape the school’s history.

Outside of the Old West building at the college, the Spradley-Young Hall and Pinkney Gate Renaming Ceremony was held.

Following the opening remarks, four students told the stories of Henry Spradley, Robert C Young, and Noah and Carrie Pinkney, all of whom were former slaves.

Spradley-Young Hall will replace Cooper Hall, which was named after Thomas Cooper, a pro-slavery abolitionist who taught at Dickinson.

Henry Spradley and Robert Young, two formerly enslaved men and longtime Dickinson employees who helped merge the Dickinson campus during the 19th century, are honored by the change.

Carrie and Noah Pinkney were popular African-American food vendors on campus for decades in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their gate will be renamed Pinkney Gate in their honor.

The East College Gate at Dickinson College has been renamed Pinkney Gate in honor of Carrie and Noah Pinkney, who were long-time African-American food vendors on campus in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Dickinson and Slavery project, a multi-year research project led by director and history professor Matthew Pinsker and his students, was the catalyst for the renaming of the sites.

“These aren’t just names on a building or a gate.

They’re supposed to be motivational stories.

“The people we’re honoring today overcame enormous challenges,” Pinsker said.

“They faced even more obstacles after they were free, but they persisted,” he said.

In 2017, a history class on American slavery kicked off the three-year research project.

It then grew into a full-fledged initiative in 2018, with an exhibit and a report following in 2019.

The board of trustees approved the renaming in 2020 after reviewing the report.

The pandemic had caused a delay in the decision, but officials were now bringing it to coalition this year.

The ceremony drew over 50 descendants of the structures’ new namesakes.

Many people had traveled from California, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, and South Carolina to see the event.

Albert Gilbert, who traveled from California, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to reconnect with his family…

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