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Capital Gazette - by

Skip Auld decided to change his name on the side of the road.

For 67 years, he was Hampton Marshall Auld. But it wasn’t until that moment last summer that Auld realized he was a living monument to the confederacy.

He reflected on this moment in an opinion piece sent this week to The Capital and the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, where Auld worked as a library executive before he became the CEO of Anne Arundel County’s library system.

And he thought about it as he wrote a statement for the library on the killing of George Floyd and put together a list of books that tackle systemic racism.His lifelong nickname is Skip but his namesake, Wade Hampton III, was a Confederate general. Auld shrugged that off when he learned about Hampton in college. He was the fourth generation of Hampton Aulds, so why question it?

But on a drive home from work last July, the meaning of his name sunk in.

Auld popped in the audiobook CD of “Grant,” a biography of President Ulysses S. Grant, and was driving through Davidsonville as he listened to a section about Hampton.

He learned that before he fought for the Confederacy, Wade Hampton III was one of the largest slaveholders in the South. After the war, Hampton led a white supremacy group called the Red Shirts that killed black people to deter them from voting. The group later merged into the Ku Klux Klan.“I immediately thought ‘I’m changing my name. I don’t want anything to do with that person.' ... It just hit me in my gut that this was not something I wanted to be associated with in any way."

The next day, Auld filed paperwork with the Anne Arundel County Clerk of Court.

“I didn’t like the idea that I was named for a terrorist,” Auld said. He listed that as the reason for his name change.

To honor his family, he chose the first name Charles, his father’s middle name, and made his middle name Marshall, his mother’s maiden name. But he’ll still go by Skip.

“I just wanted to tear down the highly personal monument to the Confederacy in my own family history,” Auld wrote in his op-ed to The Capital.

 

Capital Gazette - by

During my freshman year at Davidson College, I discovered that I was probably named for Confederate General Wade Hampton. At the time, the 1970s, I didn’t think much of it. 

My father was born in New Jersey, my mother in Indiana, and we didn’t move to Wilmington, North Carolina from Arizona until I was 7 years old. I remember my father coming home from work about six months after we moved and saying to my mother, “My God, they’re still living the Civil War here!”  

The next time I thought about Wade Hampton was last summer while driving home from work listening to Ron Chernow’s “Grant” on CD. On that drive, I learned that Gen. Hampton, who was immensely loved by his veteran comrades, led 20,000 militia successors to the Ku Klux Klan during his 1876 campaign for governor of South Carolina. 

Just five years prior, President Ulysses S. Grant had succeeded enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which authorized federal armed forces to combat the Ku Klux Klan which had been terrorizing blacks throughout the South. 

This militia in South Carolina was called the Red Shirts, a paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party. Along with “rifle clubs” throughout the South, they put an end to Reconstruction in 1876. The murder of 150 African-American South Carolinians that year was part of the suppression of votes that not only ensured Wade Hampton’s election but also put the nation on a firm path to a century of Jim Crow denial of basic civil rights for black people. 

It was slavery by another name. 

That same year, my great grandfather was born in January and named for the beloved general. He was the first Hampton Auld. I was the fourth. His father had been born in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, fought in the Civil War, and was present for the surrender at Appomattox.  

Our family was blissfully ignorant of the “War Between the States,” Robert E. Lee, and most definitely ignorant of Wade Hampton. My namesake was seen as the “savior” of white South Carolinians and went from general to governor to senator. A county was formed and named for him, as were streets, parks, high schools, and boulevards. Statues of him stand in the U.S. Capitol and on the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina. 

Scarlett O’Hara’s son in “Gone with the Wind” is named Wade Hampton Hamilton. My great grandfather was named for him and I was the last to be given this name. 

By the time I arrived home after listening to “Grant," I decided to change my name, legally. I understood that four generations of Hampton Aulds began with a defeated Confederate soldier’s pride in his general and glorification of what became known as the “Lost Cause.” 

I’ve lived my whole life fully aware of the unfairness and injustice at the heart of our society. Because I didn’t want to dishonor my late father or grandfather, I took my father’s middle name, Charles. It became official in August 2019.    

In these days when removing monuments to the Confederacy is being understood more and more as the right thing to do, I’m glad I took this personal step to uproot and discard a name that in itself was a monument to the horrors inflicted upon our fellow black citizens of America. I can’t help but imagine what American history might have been over the past 144 years if the nation had fully ended slavery. 

Even all these years after the civil rights reforms of the 1960s, white privilege still lies at the base of life in America. For me, I just wanted to tear down the highly personal monument to the Confederacy in my own family history. 

 

Davidsonville resident Skip Auld is the CEO of the Anne Arundel County Public library. This column was also submitted to the Richmond Times Dispatch.

WJZ-TV - by

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The doors of the Anne Arundel County Public Library may currently be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but many of the resources they offer are still available virtually.

“There is really something for everybody at the library even when the library is only online,” said Christine Feldmann, the library’s marketing and communications manager.

From Friday night movie discussions to financial classes, these resources are offered free of charge.

Mother of three Littany Hollerbach has been taking advantage of their virtual storytime, something they often went to when the libraries were open.

“It’s nice having these local librarians that the kids recognize,” Hollerbach said.

Eva Fernandez is the programming and outreach coordinator with the AACPL. She hosts a bilingual storytime every Tuesday.

It’s more than just reading books, she says — they’re helping prepare the children for when they go back to school.

“As we go through the book and we read the story and we sing and we do all these movement activities and rhymes, which are actually crucial for the years at school,” Fernandez said.

The Anne Arundel County Public Library will start curbside book pick-ups on June 8 and plan to re-open their branches on June 15. They will continue the virtual storytime through the fall.

 

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In preparation for the opening of its buildings on July 6, officials from the Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) today explained how service will differ under current public health and operational restrictions. Additionally, the new Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library is set to open on Wednesday, July 22 at 11 am.  

 

So another black person was killed. This time, protests by diverse groups erupted and have enveloped our nation. Why it’s happening now after George Floyd’s killing, rather than last month after the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s death went viral, or in March when Breonna Taylor was shot in her home is not the point. Enough is enough. It’s time to speak out. 

 

Most Libraries to Open for Limited Indoor Service on June 15