I have been a member of the Auburn family since the day I was born. Both of my parents attended Auburn in the 90s, and as alumni, weekends in the Fall growing-up were spent on the Plains. I believe this gives me a unique perspective on the evolution of Auburn’s campus and the way our history is displayed. I cannot say that I have always been particularly attentive to history on campus, but what I can say is that I certainly have noticed over the years how campus has evolved and has seemingly become more open about its own storied history.
As a child, the history told on campus always seemed to be centered around how great Auburn (white) men were and their contributions to society. The only people of color that were talked about were athletes, and women were almost entirely not mentioned. Being that I was raised in an “Alt-Right” conservative household, I was discouraged from inquiring into the more meaningful histories of Auburn as they may paint the university in a “bad light.” As time passed, however, I began to think for myself and realized Auburn was leaving out a lot of its own history. There weren’t any discussions about the legacy of racism and hate on campus and the symbols of that hate that were prominently displayed, i.e., the Lathe.
Now, while there still aren’t many, there are monuments and/or historic markers to people of color and women that have begun the discussion and recognition of a more accurate Auburn history and its legacy in dealing with racism and discrimination. I think this is a step in the right direction in attempting to heal and lead to a brighter future on Auburn’s campus.