Kennesaw State University and Corra Harris

Corra Harris was a white supremacist. Read her 1899 letter to the editor of the Independent defending the lynching of Sam Hose and, if nothing else, that is clear. But it isn’t 1899. It’s 2009 and we all know that the Earth rotates around the sun and viruses are real (we can see them under microscopes). But still in 2009 whites don’t think, still don’t think, that the white terrorism and attempted genocide of Black southerners is a big deal. Those who do think what happened was and still is a big deal are called ‘racists’, ‘politically correct’ and other slanders in what should be termed the new 21st century vernacular of white supremacists. This is the terrain upon which the battle over the memory of Corra Harris is being waged.

The story goes that this started when Kennesaw State University was approached and offered this land in 2008 by DeKalb County businessman Jodie Hill. But that story doesn’t really make much sense. Remember, 2008 was the year of the real estate and mortgage industry meltdown. Thus starting with the offer by Hill to KSU is prolly more than a little bit dishonest. It’s difficult to know the real deal because KSU isn’t fessin up on all it knows and what it knows is likely just half the story. There are serious questions that haven’t been answered. And some haven’t even been asked.

  • Hill is attempting to liquidate this asset now-why?
  • Hill is being credited for a three million dollar donation to KSU. How much could Hill have gotten in the private sector for this undeveloped 56 acres in the middle of the subprime meltdown? Three million? Haha.
  • Were all professional and familial conflicts of interest between KSU and Hill disclosed before the deal was done?
  • Does the contract between Hill and KSU stipulate that the Cora Harris landmarks must be maintained by KSU?
  • Is it ethical for an institution serving Black and white students to maintain a memorial for a Jim Crow white supremacist?

These are a few questions that need to have a public forum. And not the public forum administered, faciliated and controlled by the KSU president but a forum with the KSU administration, faculty, staff, students as well as community-at-large present and controlled democratically. A democratic forum would be controlled and faciliated democratically, meaning by students, staff and community members primarily, with administration and faculty playing a minor role in line with their representation.

This hasn’t happened and that is part of the reason key questions haven’t been asked or answered. None of this even begins to deal with the moral and political problems raised by this situation. Problems and issues like this need to be dealt with in order for this land deal to be understood properly but it’s also larger than this piece of land. Whites tend to refer to problems in this realm as ‘racial’ problems. But this doesn’t accurately describe what we’re dealing with. The problem is white supremacy. When we don’t understand or acknowledge that our chances of moving forward narrow considerably.

As we prepare for the opening of the 09-10 academic year, we shouldn’t hope for genuine participatory dialog with all the aforementioned constituencies. It can happen but unfortunately hope won’t do it. We have to organize it. Then and only then will we see real questions asked, real answers provided and finally some light shed on actual machinations of this racist land deal.

7 Responses to “Kennesaw State University and Corra Harris”

  1. It appears the author of this post has not seen the land, historical structures, and valuable history that constitutes the Corra Harris home “In The Valley.” I would suggest that the author should refrain from commentatry about subjects they know little about. I am convinced that if the Corra Harris home, outbuildings, land, etc were acquired for the measly sum of 3 million dollars, that it would be truly a bargain indeed. That unique property has enormous income potential but its’ historical value alone is priceless. I believe the evolving thoughts of a late nineteent century American woman to be different for one that lived in the time than one who has not. I imagine a lot of folks white, black, & otherwise have had ideas in the past which they no longer hold. Thank God that he does not hold grudges forever! None of us would attain an eternity with him.

    • The former owner of the land attempted to sell the ‘Homestead’ in the real estate market but couldn’t get much for it. Couldn’t get 3 million or anywhere close. So resorting to using the university, as a tax shelter for sure, as a custodian for her legacy seems odd on the one hand and more than a bit shady on the other. There have been allegations of a relationship having existed between the caretakers of the land and KSU officials. Those kinds of conflicts of interests are a no-no and KSU is attempting to cover all that stuff up for sure.

      As for the land being valuable, that’s all perspective. I would like to see the Cora Harris artifacts be remembered as something atrocious and ugly. She advocated hate, suffering and terror. Still, I know many are proud of that and advocate to see it continued today. Those are the enemies of freedom and justice. Here’s to hoping they don’t win out and the Cora Harris Homestead sees it’s way out of the hands of KSU as soon as possible.

      • Do you have any proof that there a relationship exists between the caretakers of the land and and KSU officials? I would be really curious to see if that is a fact or if you are involved in spreading falsehoods.

        The man who donated the property to KSU is in his 90’s and no longer able to care for the property.

  2. […] White Supremacy in Kennesaw? Over the past year there has been controversy surrounding Kennesaw State University’s acquisition of property that once belonged to Corra […]

  3. First, If you are going to make an argument pertaining to an educational institution it would be much more convincing if you sounded like an intelligent person. Honestly, you sound like you have never been to high school, much less a college campus.
    Second, What is your arguement anyways. That we collectively as a nation should brush Jim Crow era segregation under the rug. NO WE SOULD NOT! We have to remember it for the future, on both sides. You must remember that the people of the past did not know the future. It was nothing for people back then to be racist, virtually every white person was. Today we now finally are realizing that racism is wrong, but that does not make us better than the people of the past. The human civilization is continually evolving, one day what we hold to be true will be considered absurd. We may not agree with the actions or beliefs of the past, but that is because we look at history knowing the future. Where as they did not.
    In no way do I condone racism, but it is not right for me to say that happened then was wrong. It is wrong by todays standards, but then it was right. People then truely believed that the pigmentation of ones skin mattered. We should learn from the past, not repeat it. It seems to me that if someone gets upset over something so trivial, that maybe they are the racist. You have to accept history as history, in the past. Learn from it, and apply it to our future.

  4. I wonder whether you will have the integrity to tell the same truth about Margaret Sanger, Founder of Planned Parenthood and Charles Darwin, who were both also extremely racists and bent on extinguishing the black race. That’s exactly why most abortion clinics are located in inner cities. There’s is much more evidence of this with Sanger than Harris.

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