The Controversy Over the Naming of the Basketball Arena at Historically Black Alabama State University Rages On

In 1992, Alabama State University, the historically black educational institution in Montgomery, opened the Joe L. Reed Acadome. The 7,600-seat facility is the home to the university’s basketball teams and it hosts many other campus events. The arena was named after Joe L. Reed, the former chair of the university’s board of trustees and current head of the Alabama Democratic Conference.

In 2008 the board of trustees voted to remove Reed’s name from the building after Reed filed a lawsuit challenging the board’s right to issue a severance package to the university’s outgoing president. Reed’s supporters in the Alabama legislature unsuccessfully tried to force the university to restore his name to the building.

Now the board of trustees has renamed the building the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in honor of Charles Johnson Dunn and James V. Oliver, two men, now deceased, who were basketball coaches at the university. But the Alabama legislature responded by passing a nonbinding resolution calling for the university to reinstate Reed’s name to the building. But at a trustee’s meeting last Friday, the issue was not put on the table.