Lafayette College Rededicates the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights

In 1929, Fred Morgan Kirby, cofounder of F.W. Woolworth Company, donated $590,000 to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, for the construction of the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. A decade earlier, Kirby had endowed a professorship at the college dedicated to the study of civil rights in the United States.

The Kirby Hall of Civil Rights was designed by Whitney Warren, the architect of Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Today it houses the department of government and law at Lafayette College.

At the building’s dedication in 1930 the principal speaker was Edward L. Katzenbach, former attorney general of New Jersey and father of Nicholas Katzenbach, the former attorney general of the United States.

This past week, Lafayette College celebrated the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. A new exhibit was unveiled which displays a timeline of the civil rights movement in the United States as well as at Lafayette College. Nicholas Katzenbach and Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at the rededication ceremonies.