The Ballad of Kurth and Clark

In 2020, Ernest Kurth Residence Hall was renamed Ernest Clark Residence Hall. Ernest Kurth was a longtime member of the Southwestern Board of Trustees and someone who actively impeded the racial desegregation of Southwestern in the 1950s and early 1960s, just before this building was first named for him. Ernest Clark was the first Black student enrolled by and graduated from Southwestern. This official act of de-commemoration and re-commemoration opens into many smaller stories about the contemporary cultural politics of place-naming at Southwestern.

The walls of Southwestern University's Clark Residence Hall echo with a history that transcends its foundation. A testament to change, the hall's renaming is not merely a tribute to Ernest L. Clark, but also a reflection on a complex and evolving narrative of segregation, integration, and acknowledgment at Southwestern.
View Story | Show on Map