Marshall building name recommendations to be shared

February 21, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert plans to share recommendations from his Committee on Building Names with the Board of Governors on Thursday during his report, according to a university spokesperson.

The president formed the committee after a push from students to rename Jenkins Hall, which houses the College of Education and Professional Development. The building is named after area Confederate general and slave holder Albert Gallatin Jenkins.

The committee had public hearings and received written comments from the Marshall community on their thoughts on Jenkins and other building names on campus. The report the committee compiled will be given to the board members Thursday, Feb. 21.

The board will also have an executive session to further discuss the recommendations.

Students for a Democratic Society has led the push to rename Jenkins Hall for nearly a year now. John Ross, SDS president, said in August the goal was to have thoughtful discussions on whom the university chooses to honor.

Jenkins attended Marshall Academy, later attending Harvard Law. He also served in the U.S. House of Representatives before leaving his seat when the Civil War started. Jenkins was elected captain of a volunteer company of riflemen from Cabell and Mason counties. He converted the members of the company into cavalrymen, gave them the name “Border Rangers” and arranged for their enlistment in the Confederate Army.

He briefly left the field to serve in the First Confederate Congress but returned to duty when he was promoted to brigadier general. He led a battalion of cavalry at the Battle of Gettysburg, where he was wounded.

He eventually died in 1864 after being severely wounded and captured during the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain. He’s buried in the Confederate plot at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington.

Jenkins’ plantation off W.Va. 2 in Green Bottom still stands today and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Jenkins family owned more than 50 slaves who worked the farm, and during the war, Jenkins was known to abduct free people of color during his campaigns with the intention of selling them into slavery.

The Board of Governors will meet in Foundation Hall, a change of venue due to Engineering Career Day. The regular meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. or immediately following the conclusion of the two 9 a.m. committee meetings.