Monday August 19th, 2019 2:35PM
5:38AM ( 8 hours ago ) Weather Alert

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.

And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted to strip a former school president's name from a campus science building because he lent his scientific expertise to groups that were in favor of selective reproduction, also known as eugenics.

Vestiges of racism and intolerance are slowly being moved and removed in Michigan and other northern states. In some cases, the efforts are being led by students and faculty at prestigious universities, community leaders and elected officials taking harder looks at their history and potentially divisive issues while being spurred by more widespread efforts in the South to erase the nation's slave past.

"I think it's very much in line with the things we're seeing happen across the country," said Josh Hasler, a recent University of Michigan graduate who worked as a student with some faculty members to have Clarence Cook Little's name scraped off the building on the school's Ann Arbor campus.

Little was the school's president from 1925 to 1929. He supported sterilization of what eugenics referred to as the "unfit" and also backed immigration restrictions and laws against the mixing of racial groups, including in marriage. He was scientific director of a tobacco research advisory board in the 1950s and was accused of sowing doubt about smoking and cancer.

The vote to take down Little's name came in March along with one by regents to remove late science professor Alexander Winchell's name from a residence hall wing. Winchell wrote a book that is cited by white supremacist groups.

"No one is trying to erase history," Hasler said. "It goes to show that remembering and commemorating aren't the same thing."

Monuments honoring Confederate soldiers have been targeted for removal from courthouses, statehouses, schools and public parks since the racially motivated killings of nine African-American parishioners in 2015 at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and after last year's violent protests at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Charlottesville leaders have voted to remove statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Earlier this year, Tulsa Public Schools removed a monument dedicated to Lee and rescinded the school's name.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Historical Commission is considering a formal request from late last year by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to move three monuments from the state's Capitol grounds to a historic battlefield site.

But such statues and monuments aren't just being mothballed down South.

Last year, Helena, Montana, removed a memorial to Confederate soldiers that had been in a public park since 1916. And in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, a statue of former Mayor Orville Hubbard — who spent decades trying to keep the city all white — was socked away for more than a year after leaders decided it didn't belong outside a new City Hall. The Hubbard statue now stands beside a small museum.

Kalamazoo's Fountain of the Pioneers is expected to be stored away until officials decide on a new home for the monument. Some residents say the piece is racist toward Native Americans. Others argue that it is art and can teach people about history.

Only time will tell if calls to remove monuments will continue to grow, according to Paul Brest, professor emeritus and former law school dean at Stanford University.

"I think it has more to do with a moment in history when there is a lot of consciousness of people's conduct ... a period where people are socially conscious about this behavior in the past," Brest said. "The Civil War monuments are a particular example of that.

"The things that may seem innocuous today may — 100 years from now — seem like bad deeds. It calls for a degree of caution."

Brest chaired a committee that developed principles and procedures for renaming buildings at the northern California school. The committee was put together after some students and faculty demanded that Junipero Serra's name be removed from campus buildings and signage. Serra was the Roman Catholic founder of nine California missions, and many of the missions were built on land native to the Ohlone Indians.

Stanford says it will consider renaming buildings, streets, monuments, endowed positions and prizes when there is strong evidence that retaining the name is inconsistent with the university's integrity or is harmful to its research and teaching missions and inclusiveness.

Other schools' approaches have varied. Yale University in Connecticut said last year that it would change the name of a residential college that honors John C. Calhoun, a 19th century alumnus and former U.S. vice president, who was an ardent supporter of slavery.

However, Princeton University in New Jersey declined to remove Woodrow Wilson's names from its public policy school following calls from black students that the ex-U.S. president was a segregationist. Wilson also served as Princeton's president from 1902 to 1910.

Despite, the University of Michigan's decision to drop Clarence Cook Little's name from its Ann Arbor campus, the University of Maine has no plans to remove it from a lecture hall. Little was Maine's president from 1922 to 1925.

"You just can't do these ad hoc," Brest said. "It's really important to have some criteria, so when you consider removing a name it's not just a one-off. It's certainly safer to name (a building) after a tree or a flower than a person, but there still may be good reasons for a university to want to name something after a historical person or even a living person."

At the University of Michigan, Little's name has been replaced on the building with the location's address. The Winchell House sign will be taken down over the summer.

The school established a new review process in January 2017 about historical names in and on campus buildings.

School president, Mark Schlissel, has said the review principles include that anyone requesting changes "carry a heavy burden" to justify it.

Schlissel said that in the Little and Winchell cases he believes "that burden has been met."

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Local/State News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture
© Copyright 2019
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance
Vestiges of racism and intolerance slowly being moved and removed in Michigan and other northern states as calls continue in the South to take down such monuments
10:56AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: US State Department blasts Venezuela elections
The U.S. Department of State spokeswoman has called Venezuelan elections illegitimate
10:54AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Janet Jackson, Ariana Grande, BTS set for Billboard Awards
After celebrating her 52nd birthday and the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking "janet."
10:38AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Maduro favored as Venezuelans vote amid crisis
Venezuelans vote Sunday in a presidential election with Nicolas Maduro expected to win a second six-year term, despite a deepening crisis that's made food scarce and inflation soar as oil production in the once wealthy nation plummets
9:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Venezuelans line up to vote in Sunday's election
The leafy streets in the opposition stronghold of eastern Caracas were largely empty on Sunday, but voters in other parts of the city headed to the polls
9:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Family, friends recall shooting victims' optimism, humor
Among the 10 people killed in the mass shooting at a Texas high school were a Pakistani exchange student, a substitute teacher with a "lust for life" and a boy whose sense of humor made him impossible to not like
8:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
US, China agree to cut American trade deficit
United States and China agree to reduce massive US trade deficit, but no numerical target set
12:27AM ( 10 hours ago )
US and China pledge work toward easing trade tensions
United States and China agree to reduce massive US trade deficit but no numerical target set
12:15AM ( 10 hours ago )
The Latest: Wounded student attends school baseball game
A Santa Fe high school baseball team member who suffered a head wound in the shooting attended the school's playoff game Saturday
8:28PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business
Wife of man charged in blast probe died in 'mysterious case'
Years before a targeted explosion killed his former girlfriend, the wife of a Southern California man charged as part of the blast investigation died in what officials called a "mysterious case"
1:08PM ( 21 hours ago )
Beijing showing signs of compromise in trade talks with US
Beijing is showing signs of compromise in trade talks with US in Washington
5:26PM ( 1 day ago )
Conservative revolt over immigration sinks House farm bill
Conservatives scuttle bill that combines stricter work and job training requirements for food stamp recipients with a renewal of farm subsidies.
5:04PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Industries
As talks resume, China ends anti-dumping probe of US sorghum
China drops anti-dumping investigation into imported US sorghum, says not in public interest
12:52AM ( 2 days ago )
Critics say US sugar program a sour deal for consumers
Food processors, soft drink manufacturers and candy makers are squaring off against the U.S. sugar industry in a familiar battle over a program that props up sugar prices
5:57PM ( 2 days ago )
Sea otters rebound but struggle to regain historic range
Experts are struggling to restore the U.S. West Coast's southern sea otters to their historic range.
1:16PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
The Latest: US State Department blasts Venezuela elections
The U.S. Department of State spokeswoman has called Venezuelan elections illegitimate
10:54AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Janet Jackson, Ariana Grande, BTS set for Billboard Awards
After celebrating her 52nd birthday and the 25th anniversary of her groundbreaking "janet."
10:38AM ( 25 minutes ago )
The Latest: 1st funeral set for Texas school shooting victim
The first funeral for one of the 10 people fatally shot at a high school outside Houston is set for Sunday afternoon
10:19AM ( 45 minutes ago )
The Latest: Texas official calls for 'hardening' of schools
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is urging a "hardening" of school buildings in the wake of a shooting that killed 10 people at a Texas high school
10:06AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Indy 500 field won't be expanded for Hinchcliffe, Mann
IndyCar is not considering expanding its field to 33 cars to make room for James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann to make the Indianapolis 500
10:06AM ( 58 minutes ago )