The DART Cherry drug and alcohol treatment facility in Goldsboro will be renamed DART Center to eliminate a reference to a governor who advocated dropping civil rights from the Democratic Party platform, the N.C. Department of Public Safety said Thursday.
The DART campus at 1302 W. Ash St. is among five North Carolina facilities to be renamed effective Monday, DPS said.
The other four are:
• Caledonia Correctional Institution in Tillery, which will become Roanoke River Correctional Institution.
• Morrison Correctional Institution in Hoffman, which will become Richmond Correctional Institution.
• Polk Correctional Institution in Butner, which will become Granville Correctional Institution.
• Swannanoa Correctional Center for Women in Black Mountain, which will become Western Correctional Center for Women.
“These changes are being made to better reflect the diversity of modern-day society,” Todd Ishee, state prisons commissioner, said in a news release. “In this day and age, it is unacceptable to maintain facility names with negative historical connotations.”
DPS said that in its research, the department looked into the historical context for the names of 1,893 buildings that are part of 240 complexes owned or operated by DPS.
The Polk, Morrison and DART Cherry facilities were flagged when research indicated they were named for historical figures whose race-related actions do not represent DPS’ values, the department said.
The staffs at those five facilities had input into choosing the new names, DPS said.
“It was important to me that the staff have a say in the names of the places they work, and they preferred names with local community significance,” Ishee said. “I strongly believe they should not have to work in facilities named to honor those who may have oppressed their ancestors.”
The DART Cherry facility was named for former Gov. Gregg Cherry, who advocated dropping civil rights from the Democratic Party platform in the 1940s, DPS said.
Cherry served as governor from 1945 to 1949. He was born in South Carolina and graduated from Gastonia High School and Duke University. He was a former mayor of Gastonia. Before becoming governor, Cherry served in the N.C. House of Representatives and then the N.C. Senate.
The National Governors Association website says that during Cherry’s tenure as governor, the state’s road system advanced, educational funding increased, teacher and state employee salaries were raised, and the state’s mental hospitals were improved.
Cherry died in 1957.
DPS’ website describes DART Cherry as a 300-bed residential treatment facility responsible for the delivery of chemical dependency treatment services to probationers sent by the courts and to parolees released from the state prison system and transitioning back into the community.
DART is an acronym for Drug and Alcohol Recovery Treatment.
DPS gave these reasons for changing the other four facilities’ names:
• Caledonia Correctional stems from the property’s use as an antebellum plantation, where crops were grown and harvested with slave labor.
• Morrison Correctional was named for former Gov. Cameron Morrison, who was a leader of the “Red Shirts,” a violent, post-Civil War organization that promoted white supremacy.
• Polk Correctional was named for William Polk, a Revolutionary War officer who owned slaves.
• Swannanoa Correctional’s name was tied to the construction of the Swannanoa Tunnel in Asheville, which appears to have resulted in the deaths of numerous Black offender-laborers in the late 1800s.
DART Cherry’s name change does not affect nearby Cherry Hospital, an inpatient regional referral psychiatric hospital. Cherry Hospital is operated by a different department, the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Cherry Hospital was established in the late 1800s to serve the African American population,” Kelly Haight Connor, DHHS communications manager, said in an email. “The hospital has been committed to working with staff, patients and community members in addressing and raising awareness about its unique history. Changing the name has not been raised previously as part of this work.”
Cherry Hospital is one of three regional psychiatric hospitals operated by DHHS. The others are Broughton Hospital in Morganton and Central Regional Hospital in Butner.