A petition campaign has started on Change.org to give the name of Chadwick Boseman to Howard University’s School of Fine Arts in honor of the late actor, who lost his years-long fight against colon cancer last week.
Boseman graduated from Howard with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing in 2000.
“We petition the Howard University Board of Trustees and President Frederick to take the necessary steps to formally and seriously consider naming our new school the ‘Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts’ in honor of our alumnus, hero, and advocate,” wrote Maya Shed, a Howard student who launched the campaign.
“This is one small way for the Howard community to commemorate Chadwick Boseman and the love, loyalty, and immense talent that he shared with us and the world.”
The number of signatures has already reached nearly 25,000, which is the target that will allow the petition to be sent to the Howard University Board of Trustees, and President Wayne A.I. Frederick.
The Black Panther actor was a vocal advocate of keeping the College of Fine Arts, and opposed the attempt to turn it into the Division of Fine Arts under the roof of College of Arts and Sciences during his time at Howard, according to the petition. He even took part in protests against the university’s decision, which was eventually implemented.
In 2018, Boseman was part of President Frederick’s announcement that the College of Fine Arts would be reinstated.
Frederick called Boseman “a man of grace and humility,” in a letter to the Howard community after the actor’s tragic passing, adding that he would not shy away from using his voice for those without one.
Best known for his role as King T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther, Boseman also played black icons such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall.
The actor died at the age of 43 on August 28, 2020 in his Los Angeles home, after being diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago.