Rhodes College renames hall that honored Confederate pastor

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A college in Memphis, Tennessee, is renaming a building that honors a Confederate pastor who historical records show argued the Bible justified slavery.

Rhodes College is changing the name of Palmer Hall to Southwestern Hall. The change comes after a three-year investigation into the history of Benjamin Palmer, the first moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America.

A special committee was appointed to review Palmer’s legacy.

“This recommendation is based on the committee’s detailed investigation of the principal legacy of Benjamin Palmer, which was found to be fundamentally at odds with our college Vision. At the same time, the committee recommends that appropriate measures are taken by the administration to ensure that the college’s history is not forgotten,” the Palmer Hall Discernment Committee wrote.

To that end, the college said it will hold an annual event dedicated to its history and create a new plague for the hall that will add additional context. The original plague will also stay in its current location.

Rhodes President Majorie Hass and Board of Trustees Chairman Cary Fowler said in a letter that the new name honors the school’s former name. The school was originally known as Southwestern Presbyterian University. It was later shortened to Southwestern.

To read the full announcement from Rhodes College, click here.

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