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An online petition is asking the president of the University of Alabama to rename the English department building after a notable alumna — the late "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee.
The name change, the Change.org petition says, would be an "amazing chance to show our support for racial equality, as well as to honor the legacy generally of a woman who promoted kindness and empathy for all. Lee was doubtless the University's greatest contribution to literature, and it would be more than fitting for our English building to bear her name."
The building, Morgan Hall, was named for John Tyler Morgan, whom the petition says was "a general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and post-war, a six-term senator from the state of Alabama. He was also a Grand Dragon in the Ku Klux Klan, and used his legislative power to promote racist policies and practices."
The petition, addressed to university president Dr. Stuart Bell, was posted on Friday — the day Lee died. It has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures, with a stated goal of 2,500 signatures.
"To Kill a Mockingbird," a literary classic about racial injustice in the Jim Crow South, has been taught to generations of schoolchildren.