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FAMU Village renamed in honor of World War II hero, former Rattler

Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 18:36:35-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida A&M University student housing complex is about to be renamed, but the name isn't new.

Years ago, the complex was named for an important figure in African American history, whose served both the university and the nation.

"One thing I've learned from being at FAMU is that we walk on the shoulders of giants," said Te-Andre Brown, senior at FAMU.

Giants like Lt. James R. Polkinghorne, a former Rattler who joined the Army after his junior year at FAMU.

He graduated from Tuskegee Army Airfield in 1944 and became a leader of a flight squadron. He was on a mission in Italy when his plane was shot down. He died in combat and later received the Purple Heart.

"History is inspiring. And when you have someone who is significant, who is a part of your world, the FAMU nation, the Rattler nation then you should honor that," said Dr. Valencia E. Matthews, Dean and Professor of Theatre at FAMU.

A student housing complex on campus was named in Polkinghorne's honor in 1948 and called Polkinghorne Village.

The original Polkinghorne housing complex was condemned a few years ago. When a modern facility was built in its place, it was christened FAMU Village.

"There were cries from everywhere that it was significant that we go back to calling it Polkinghorne Village," said Dr. Matthews.

Which is exactly what the university is going to do. There will be a renaming ceremony in November and FAMU Village will once again be Polkinghorne Village.

Dr. Brian Lucas, Assistant Director of Governmental Relations at FAMU, says it's important that students know the history and learn about the people who attended the university before them.

"What they did, the sacrifices they made, so that you and I would have the privileges that we have to this day and so our country could insure that all of our citizens have their freedom," said Dr. Lucas.

Polkinghorne's sister was at the original naming ceremony as a toddler in 1948. She now lives in Pensacola and will be attending the re-naming event on November 8.

Everyone is invited. The ceremony starts at 4 p.m.