Students at Towson University are petitioning the school to rename two dorms that are named after former slave-owner politicians. The two dorms — Paca House and Carroll Hall — are named in honor of William Paca and Charles Carroll.
William Paca owned the Wye Plantation in Maryland, while Carroll owned the Doughoregan Manor plantation. Carroll, who was one of the first two United States Senators and president of the Maryland State Senate, was the largest slave owner in Maryland with 347 slaves listed as living on the Doughoregan Manor plantation, according to information in the online petition.
“Both of these families built their wealth off of the enslavement, abuse, and forced labor of African American people, and Towson is deciding to celebrate Charles Carroll and William Paca by naming a building after them. Is this what Towson stands for?”, the petition reads.
“It is stated that ‘TU is dedicated to creating a diverse space free of judgment, fear, and prejudice, and to strengthening our continued efforts to fight hate and bigotry. Our differences are to be embraced and celebrated. Hate has no place at TU’ (‘Reporting Hate Crimes & Bias Incidents’)…. an interesting quote from Towson University.”
The petition asks that students “DEMAND” Towson University remove the names of the slave owners from the dorms.
Not everyone, however, is on board.
“They deserve to be remembered not for their faults but for their achievements,” retired state archivist Edward Papenfuse wrote in an email to the Baltimore Sun. “Paca, for instance, was one of the fathers of the Bill of Rights, while Carroll was willing to put his whole extensive fortune on the line in opposition to authoritarian rule.”
So while the students are doing their best to work for a change, it seems unlikely that Towson University will make any moves to please those who signed the petition.