N.C. State University Memorial Belltower

The Memorial Belltower at N.C. State University in Raleigh

RALEIGH — N.C. State University has removed the name of a campus building that had been named for a leading North Carolina figure who had strong ties to white supremacy.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that university trustees voted Monday to take the name off a building that honored Josephus Daniels.

Daniels served as publisher of the News & Observer, and his family owned the paper until they sold it in 1995. Daniels served as U.S. Secretary of the Navy during World War I and was U.S. Ambassador to Mexico under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

A Democrat, Daniels also was a leader in the white supremacy movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that sought to take back power from a coalition of Republicans and Populists. He rallied whites against Black N.C. residents and helped organize the armed overthrow in 1898 of the city government in Wilmington, then the state's largest city. A white mob killed at least 60 people and burned the office of the city's Black-owned newspaper, and more than 2,000 Black residents fled the city. The News & Observer apologized in 2006 for its role in the massacre.

Two years after the events in Wilmington, Daniels backed a new constitutional amendment that barred most of the state's Black residents from voting and ushered in the era known as Jim Crow.

Daniels Hall is located on the N.C. State's North Campus. It opened in 1926 for the physics and electrical engineering departments and was named for Daniels, then an N.C. State trustee, 12 years later. The Raleigh newspaper reported that Chancellor Randy Woodson recommended that the building not be renamed right away.

The News & Observer reported that Daniels' family removed a statue of him from a downtown Raleigh park a week ago. Also last week, the Wake County school system said it will rename a Raleigh middle school named for Daniels.

Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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