EDITORIAL: The names students deserve

Ona Norton

Staff Editorial

We at The Daily Eastern News believe that students should have more buildings named after figures that represent the population at EIU. 

Naming a figure after an African American that has impacted our community allows for us to learn more about them. We already know about white American history as we are taught growing up, and one of the places we do have named after an African American, Martin Luther King Junior, we learn about every single year. 

It’s time to diversify our education. 

After our past suggestions of Zella Powell, Charles Hall, Johnetta Jones, and Kevin Duckworth, we would also like to suggest Ona Norton. 

Ona Norton (born Ona Louisa Stoner), along with her husband Kenneth Norton, were asked by former EIU football coach Ralph Kohl during the 1950s to assist in locating housing for African American athletes. They did this since housing wasn’t as expensive in the Charleston community as on campus. Originally, the couple housed students in their own home and later rented two homes for men and two for women. 

Norton’s involvement in the community involved delivering cookies for the Charleston Recreation Department, taking the sweets to convalescent homes in association with Maxine Goff. Her other activities included work with the Senior Citizen Center, the Wesley United Methodist Church, and the Charleston Civic Association.  

In 1967 Norton was honored as Woman of the Year by the Charleston Chamber of Commerce. She was an honor awardee of the Concerned Citizens of Charleston in 1976. 

Norton passed away in 1995 at the age of 101, an activist and supporter of the African American community.