Changes made on prison facilities named for those with racist backgrounds

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 1, 2021

By Gary D. Robertson

Associated Press

RALEIGH — Four North Carolina state prisons and a drug addiction treatment facility for probationers are getting their names changed because of histories connected to racism or slavery, the Department of Public Safety announced Thursday.

The renamings, which take effect Monday, follow a department review during the past year of the historical context of the names of nearly 1,900 buildings at complexes owned or operated by the department.

Two of the five facilities had been named for 20th century Governors Cameron Morrison and Gregg Cherry.

The adjustments reflect a recent nationwide reassessment of names for government buildings linked to matters of racism and oppression.

“These changes are being made to better reflect the diversity of modern-day society,” state Commissioner of Prisons Todd Ishee said in a news release. “In this day and age, it is unacceptable to maintain facility names with negative historical connotations.”

Morrison Correctional Institution in Hoffman will become Richmond Correctional Institution, while the DART Cherry residential treatment facility in Goldsboro will simply be the DART Center.

Morrison, who was governor from 1921 to 1925, was at the close of the 19th century the leader of the “Red Shirts,” whose members intimidated Black voters and backed white supremacy. Cherry, the governor from 1945 to 1949, had “advocated to drop civil rights from the Democratic party platform,” the department said.

Caledonia Correctional Institution in Tillery will become Roanoke River Correctional Institution. Polk Correctional Institution in Butner will be the Granville Correctional Institution. And Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in Black Mountain will be Western Correctional Center for Women.