Confederate monuments are being taken down or vandalized in cities across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody -- but so far the revived push to remove symbols of slavery and segregation has largely overlooked the late Democratic senator who was a former Ku Klux Klan member yet later rejected those views.
West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd's legacy is visible throughout his home state of West Virginia, with his name on numerous buildings and roads.
Byrd was a former member of the Klu Klux Klan who later regretted that affiliation, renounced his past views supporting segregation and described it as a mistake.
Byrd, who died at the age of 92 in 2010, was the longest-serving senator in American history.
By the time of his death, he had allies even in the civil rights movement, with the NAACP at the time praising his legacy and his transformation from a former KKK member to a “stalwart supporter” of civil rights. Then-President Barack Obama, too, cited Byrd’s evolution in honoring the West Virginia senator after he died.
Yet his complicated and controversial past has only been targeted intermittently as officials and activists eye the removal of Confederate statues and flags elsewhere.
In Virginia, officials are trying to remove a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called for the removal of Confederate statues from the Capitol.
But so far, calls to scrub Byrd’s name are limited.
At this point, a petition circulating at Marshall University and signed by more than 1,100 students called for Byrd’s name to be removed from buildings on campus.
The Change.org petition states: “Marshall University is proudly an Open to All campus but continues to have Robert C. Byrd’s name plastered on multiple buildings where students of all races attend in hopes of a higher education (…) I do not believe that is who we are as a community, campus, or state and I want the physical environment to be a reflection of that. I hope you will join me in this time of social justice to change our campus to reflect the belief of equality and fair representation.”
Several other Change.org petitions had been created, and since have been closed, to remove Byrd’s name from buildings and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Byrd’s name adorns everything from highways to bridges to buildings in West Virginia, as follows:
University Buildings & Institutes:
Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center—located at Marshall University in Huntington.
Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education—located at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown.
Robert C. Byrd Center for Pharmacy Education—located at the University of Charleston in Charleston.
Robert Ct. Byrd Center for Rural Health—located at Marshall University in Huntington.
Robert C. Byrd Clinical Teaching Center—located at CAMC Memorial Hospital in Charleston.
Robert C. Byrd Health and Wellness Center—located in Bethany.
Robert C. Byrd Health and Sciences Center—located at West Virginia University in Morgantown.
Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing—located at Marshall University in Huntington.
Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center—located in Bridgeport.
The Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer Center—located in Wheeling.
Robert C. Byrd High School—located in Clarksburg.
Robert C. Byrd Rooms— located in West Virginia and in Washington D.C.
Robert C. Byrd U.S. Court House —located in Beckley and Charleston.
Robert C. Byrd Auditorium—located in Shepherdstown.
Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam—located along the Ohio River in West Virginia
Robert C. Byrd Clinic—located in Lewisburg.
Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope—located in Green Bank.
Robert C. Byrd Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health Center—located in Wheeling.
Robert C. Byrd Industrial Park—located in Old Fields.
Robert C. Byrd Conference Center—located in Elkins.
Major Highways & Bridges:
Robert C. Byrd Appalachian Highway System—located in West Virginia.
Robert C. Byrd Bridge—located in Huntington.
Robert C. Byrd Drive—located in Beckley.
Fox News' Remy Numa contributed to this report.