The University of Maryland righted an old wrong Friday, when the school renamed the football team's “Byrd Stadium” to simply “Maryland Stadium.”
The stadium, built in 1950, honored legendary former Terrapin athletic director and president, Harry "Curley" Byrd, who had served in administrator roles for the school from 1915-54. There was only one problem: Byrd was a prominent proponent of the "separate but equal" status of racial segregation in both his roles at the university and later as a politician.
Maryland's board of regents voted 12-5 on a motion to change the name of the stadium following widespread support from students, faculty, university president Wallace Loh and state and local politicians.
“For some African-Americans and other people of color, the name ‘Byrd stadium’ conveys a racial message hidden in plain sight,” Loh wrote in a letter to the board, noting that the 2015 freshman class represented the most diverse in the school’s history, with 25 percent being black and Hispanic. “Yet, we know that these dramatic changes have not eliminated racial tensions. Today’s progress cannot fully undo memories of yesterday’s wrongs.”