After the donor’s name was removed from the Oak University building, descendants demanded

The University of Richmond announced back in September that they would remove TC Williams’ name from their law school.

In an email to the university community, they said recently located government records show TC Williams owned slaves.

From email:

We are writing to communicate an action arising from today’s meeting of the Board of Trustees and the Board’s adoption of naming policies in March 2022. The board voted unanimously to change the official name of the law school from the TC Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law. The law school has been referred to as the University of Richmond School of Law for over 20 years. The decision to officially adopt that name was made in accordance with the 6 principles of the Naming Policy, which states:

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No university building, program, professorship, or other entity shall be named for a person who directly engages in the trafficking and/or enslavement of others or openly advocates human slavery.

As many of you know, the Board has adopted the Naming Policy formulated by the Naming Policy Commission during the last academic year. That commission, with student, staff, faculty, alumni and trustee representation, as well as external expertise, recommended policies to the board after an extensive and inclusive process in which more than 7,500 members of the university community provided their perspectives. The purpose of the policies is to provide a clear and consistent framework for making decisions about naming and renaming in Richmond.

To provide some context, Thomas C. Williams, Sr. (1831–1889), known as TC Williams, operated a tobacco business in Richmond and elsewhere in Virginia, including Patterson & Williams and Thomas C. Williams & Co. was incorporated. He attended Richmond College (1846–49), was a trustee of Richmond College from 1881 until his death in 1889, and was a benefactor of the institution. In 1890, the Williams family made a memorial gift of $25,000, creating an endowment that laid a solid foundation for the development of the law program. Several of his children—one of whom succeeded Williams on the board of trustees until 1929—also provided generous support to the university and law school. In 1920, when Richmond College was re-chartered as the University of Richmond, the law school continued to use the name TC Williams School of Law…

A descendant of Williams is now fighting the university.

He is demanding $3.6 billion from the university to his family.

The Daily Mail reported:

A Virginia lawyer demanded the University of Richmond pay his family $3.6 billion after the southern school removed his ancestor’s name from its law school because he was a slave owner.

Robert C. Smith, whose great-grandfather TC Williams Sr. was recently an early and prominent benefactor of the Richmond School of Law, wrote a letter to university president Kevin Hallock demanding the school return William’s 1890 donation – adjusted for inflation, plus interest.

Smith accused the school of capitulating to ‘wicked activists’ when it removed Williams’ name from the law school in 2021 after campus outrage over slave-owning and openly racist benefactors bearing the names of campus buildings.

The university said 19th-century records showed Williams owned 40 slaves on his tobacco plantation, but Smith claims his family was never shown that evidence.

In a letter to the school, he said, “because you and your staff” want to discredit Williams’ name and claim that the money has been tainted, all money should be returned.

The Epoch Times reported:

Jesse Williams, TC Williams’ father, donated building materials to the First Baptist Church, he said. The family patriarch also donated masonry and other materials for the neighboring First African Baptist Church, Smith wrote in his January letter.

That’s right, Smith said, for the university to hand over its $3.3 billion endowment to Williams’ descendants. The remaining $300 million owed should be secured with a note using campus buildings as collateral, he wrote.

He added, “All your waking teachers” have to mortgage their assets to secure the loan.

“Since you and your staff went out of your way to besmirch the Williams name, and since the Williams family’s finances are probably tainted, show your ‘virtue’ and give it all back,” he wrote.

Will they be forced to give it all back?

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