James Madison University names hall after president’s slave

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — A university in Virginia will name a residence hall after a freed slave who once was owned by founding father James Madison.

The Washington Post reports that James Madison University honored former slave Paul Jennings on Friday by naming the new residence hall after him. The building in Harrisonburg will open this fall and have 500 beds.

Jennings spent more than half his life as an enslaved servant to Madison and his wife, Dolley Madison. That time included Madison’s stay in the White House as the nation’s fourth president. Jennings later earned his freedom and owned a home.

JMU has about 22,000 students. About 5 percent of undergraduates are black.

JMU’s honoring of Jennings is the latest effort by Virginia’s public universities to acknowledge slavery’s indelible mark on the state’s history.


Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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