To rename or not? Institutions reconsider honors for racists by Becky Bohrer and Matt Volz
Conn. — The massacre at a predominantly black South Carolina church has
institutions from Alaska to Connecticut evaluating whether they should continue
enshrining the names of historical figures linked to slavery and the
The June 17 slaying of nine black
worshippers led to calls to curb displays of the Confederate flag after photos
emerged showing the suspect posing with one and burning the U.S. flag. But it
also has added urgency to discussions on whether it is time to do away with names
given to schools, colleges and streets that have come to be seen in a new light
in places far outside the South.
A petition is calling for Yale
University in Connecticut to change the name of its residential Calhoun
College, which honors 1804 alumnus John C. Calhoun, a prominent advocate of the
slave plantation system who became a vice president and U.S. senator from South
Carolina. The petition says the name, in place since the 1930s, represents
"an indifference to centuries of pain and suffering among the black
Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said
the university welcomes the discussion. "The tragedy in Charleston, on top
of countless preceding tragedies in our country's history, has elevated public
opinion and discourse on difficult subjects that have too long been
avoided," she said.
Other campaigns around the
country include efforts to change the names of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis and
New York City's General Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, named after Confederate Gen.
Robert E. Lee. In Helena, Montana, officials will meet Wednesday to discuss
whether anything should be done with a downtown memorial to fallen Confederate
soldiers. The foundation was built in 1916 by the Daughters of the Confederacy.
The Charleston shooting took
place during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the
man charged in the attack, Dylann Roof, posted photos online showing him
holding a Confederate flag, along with writings laying out hatred of