Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Goodbye Woodrow Wilson?

At Princeton, the Black Justice League takes on an iconic figure of the Democratic Party, an unapologetic progressive, and an avowed racist.

Culminating a yearlong campaign to purge Princeton of Wilson the BJL staged a 32 hr sit-in in the office of the president, and the president of Princeton capitulated.

Was Woodrow Wilson a racist? Undoubtedly! He was even considered a racist by the standards of his own time.  The question therefore becomes is his racism the total sum of his being and accomplishments?  

While he was a racist by the standards of his own times, it was also not uncommon by the standards of his own time.  He reversed policies established through reconstruction effectively resegregating the federal government.

He also led the country in WWI, was instrumental in the founding of the League of Nations, supported suffrage, granted citizenship to Puerto Ricans, and laid the groundwork for the subsequent New Deal.  

Do we judge figures from the past with the morals of the present?  Should Wilson be erased from Princeton?  Should the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs be renamed? What do you say?

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