Take Down Of A Liberal Icon

Princeton University is under pressure from the Black Justice League, a student group, to remove the name and image of Woodrow Wilson, whom they accuse of being a racist

Woodrow Wilson’s views were appalling—his published, philosophically founded, intellectually consistent views. But if the campus activists were at all interested in understanding, not just denouncing, they would follow the trail from Wilson’s racial views to the progressivism and scientific of his day that continue to misshape our own views of human worth.

 

College and university campuses from Claremont McKenna on the West Coast to Yale in the Northeast are astir with protests over what some students feel is intolerable cultural or racial insensitivity and what they perceive as historic and institutional racism.

Princeton University, for example, is under pressure from the Black Justice League, a student group, to remove the name and image of Woodrow Wilson, whom they accuse of being a racist, from every public space. This would mean renaming the university’s Wilson College and its prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as removing a dining hall mural. Princeton University’s president has agreed to consider these demands.

This would be no small concession since Woodrow Wilson, the most highly accomplished Princeton alumnus, was the university’s president (1902–1910), governor of New Jersey (1911–1913), and then president of the United States (1913–1921). As the godfather of the modern progressive movement, Wilson was also one of the most (disastrously) consequential presidents of the 20th century.

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