The Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors agreed Friday to remove Troy H. Middleton’s name from the university’s main library.
Middleton was LSU’s president from 1951 to 1962 and an ardent segregationist. He oversaw the university when A.P. Tureaud Jr.-- LSU’s first Black student-- came to campus, and stood idly by while Tureaud was beaten and harassed by white students.
Recently unearthed letters show that while Middleton allowed Black students to take classes, he fought to keep them off sports teams, away from social functions and out of the school’s cafeterias and swimming pools.
Board Member James Williams, who is Black recalled his reaction to one such letter: “I gagged when I read that-- to think that our university would do that.”
Williams pointed to the Universities of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida moving to strip their campuses of racist monuments and traditions.
“What will we do with the baton now that it is in our hand,” Williams asked his fellow board members.
Governor John Bel Edwards said he supported the change. "In 2020, LSU students shouldn’t be asked to study in a library that bears the name of someone who didn’t want them to be LSU students,” Edwards said via video conference. “We can do better, we can be better.”
The board approved the name change without objection.