New name for FAMU Village

This is where Polkinghorne Village stood before it was torn down in 2012. Photo by Jason Bogan

Florida A&M University’s housing department recently announced that the residence hall, FAMU Village, would be changing its name back to its original name, Polkinghorne Village. 

In 2013, FAMU Village was opened to the public as a new residence hall, but the history that came before it will never be lost in the hearts of the alumni. 

Polkinghorne Village was built in honor of James R. Polkinghorne. Polkinghorne was a former Rattler who joined the U.S. Army after his junior year at FAMU and became a lieutenant. 

After graduating from Tuskegee Army Airfield in 1944, he became a flight leader of a fighter squadron. On a mission in Italy, his airplane was shot down. He received a Purple Heart for his service to his country. A historical marker was put in place in 2018 to commemorate him, which sits in the middle of the FAMU Village breezeway. 

Many students walk by the memorial every day not knowing what it actually signifies. Senior, business student, Jonathan Franklin lived in the FAMU Village his freshman year and was curious about what the monument stood for once they added it.

“I knew it wasn’t there when I was a resident, so I was sure it had to be important since it was new. I just wanted to find out the history,” said Franklin.

The Historical marker dedicated to Lt. James Polkinghorne that sits in the FAMU Village breezeway. Photo by Jason Bogan

Compared to FAMU Village, Polkinghorne Village was much smaller and was limited in space. FAMU Village has 800 units while Polkinghorne Village only held 170 units. The design of it wasn’t as modern as FAMU Village, but it served its purpose. 

Stephen Nance, tour assistant for New Student Orientation has been around the FAMU Community for over 10 years. He remembers when the Polkinghorne Village was up and running. 

“Those apartments were starting to get outdated, but what made them so special at that time, was that they were built for students who were married with children,” said Nance. 

This gave students who may not have as much money a place to live for an affordable price. When Village was introduced to FAMU, the price to live was over $3500 dollars per semester. 

The reason behind the name change was because the Alumni wanted to continue his legacy. After a vote, the Board of Trustees granted approval of the change to the original name. 

As it may be difficult to get used to at first, the name change is significant according to the program assistant of housing, Miriam Franklin. 

“These buildings aren’t just given a name, they are all named after people who impacted our culture and community,” Franklin said  

There will be a ceremony in remembrance of James Polkinghorne on November 8 at FAMU Village at 4:00 p.m.