What the renaming of SouthPark Regional Means to Me

Staff approves of renaming SouthPark Regional Library

This blog was written as part of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Black Lives Matter program initiative. Learn  more about the program and corresponding events here.

In October 2020, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library announced it was changing the name of the Morrison Regional Library to SouthPark Regional Library. Through a collaboration between staff, the Board of Trustees and the family of the late Governor Cameron A. Morrison, the name change better aligns to the Library’s stance on racism and addressing equity and inclusion within the community. While this change may seem minor to some, the journey to get this point is the champion story. It shows how the Library has always been at the forefront of addressing injustices and implementing strategies to address them immediately within their own workspaces.

As part of the equity and inclusion activities, a team of Library staff carefully assessed more than 200 artifacts, commemorations, namings and special occasions throughout Library system. The goal in the search was to document any instances in which the library was involved with promoting or influencing systematic oppression. The team identified and presented thos examples to the Library Board of Trustees who approved 10 for replacement or removal.

To understand the impact of the change, read the history from the Library’s Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room on Governor Cameron Morrison here.

So now that we know who Gov. Morrison was, why bother with the name change? The name could have stayed the same for all anybody cared as his actions were conducted one hundred years ago. For me, I think the biggest win in this renaming is that we see an actionable task being done with the intention to address systematic racism. In a world where companies say Black Lives Matter, maybe for no other reason than to maintain their current standing with their clientele, to actually see action in process beyond the upheaval of emotional moments that generate protest gives me hope for what is to come. While the name change may be viewed as a small action by some, I view it as a win for Library users to know there is a commitment from staff and administration to address ways the Library can work to provide awareness, information and resources on equity and inclusion, as well as to break barriers through immediate action. While the action may be insignificant to some, I ask that you consider the process, the journey and the future impact.

And just to think, it all started at the Library.

https://www.ncdcr.gov/blog/2014/08/20/long-political-career-for-governor-cameron-morrison

https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/evolution/biographies/morrison

https://www.ncpedia.org/red-shirts

This blog was written by Zuri Davenport at Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library.