It is about time Woodrow Wilson got cancelled
Camden, New Jersey school officials finally relented to a public and student campaign to change the name of their high school – currently named after President Woodrow Wilson. The decision was made after a year and a half long effort by community activists.
The petition to change the name read as follows:
“After years of examining the legacy of former US President Woodrow Wilson, WE have come to see that his views and actions contradict the values and diversity We see in Woodrow Wilson High School today as well as the society WE live in Camden, NJ. We must be honest with Our People about the truth of a School that was named after a white Supremacist who was a former US President. To continue to have such a name on a school only aides (sic) as a continuous reminder of a true systemic oppression that has not only been foreseen by US as parents but also Now through the eyes of Our Children today.”
Rather cumbersome wording, but you get the point.
One of the great political hypocrisies has been Democrats tearing down statues of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln while honoring President Woodrow Wilson – clearly the most open and active white supremacist and racist American leader since the Civil War. Franklin Roosevelt is a close second – and Democrats still honor the worst of the worst, President Andrew Jackson — but we will save those stories for later commentaries.
Before the Trump administration, I had advocated for the removal from places of honor those associated with the Confederacy – and other Democrats associated with the era of racial segregation, oppression and violence. And yes, that IS virtually the exclusive legacy of the Democratic Party in the one-party south and the big northern cities for generations after the Civil War.
The era of Democrat racial oppression has two major eras – the 100 years of de jure segregation, Jim Crow laws and government-sponsored paramilitary violence following the Civil War. And the following 55 years of de facto racism and segregation in the major cities were ruled over by one-party political machines.
The Republican-sponsored and supported Civil Rights Acts of the 1950s and 1960s were not the end of political racism. In fact, it was a new wave of black oppression in both Dixie and the major northern cities. Many of the displays of iconic Confederate symbolism – such as the incorporation of the Confederate battle flag into southern state standards and emblems were not taken right after the Civil War – or even after the Compromise of 1877 when Democrats took over the south by force. No. No. No. They were taken in the 1960s as symbols of the southern Democratic Party’s opposition to the Civil Rights legislation – especially in opposition to school integration and actually implementing the right to vote for black Americans.
In the 1960s, the Democratic Party was split between the northern liberals and the southern segregationists – with the urban Democrat political machines imposing institutional de facto racism in the north. The Republican Party was overwhelmingly in support of the 1956, the 1960 and the 1964 Civil Rights Act — and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The 1964 Act was passed only after Republicans overcame a Democrat filibuster.
It was not until Republican governors and legislatures took leadership in the old Confederacy that the iconic symbols of racism – especially the offensive battle flag — were starting to be removed from state flags and emblems. Republican governors and legislatures in such states as South Caroling, Florida and Texas led the way.
At the time, I wrote several articles supporting the removal of the most egregious examples of honoring individuals with infamous racist reputations. I suggested that Republicans should strike at the heart of the Democratic Party’s honoring of their racist past. It was time to end the homage Democrats paid to President Andrew Jackson – a vicious and violent white supremacist. The only slave-owning President who took pleasure in personally whipping his slaves. He was also responsible for the tragic “Trail of Tears” death march of Native Americans. Yet virtually every Democrat organization in America held – and still holds — Jackson Day Dinners in his honor.
I specifically called out the Democrats left for naming their major think-tank, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Shaming the Democrats for both their history and their contemporary hypocrisy was a way of bringing forth the dark history – and some of the contemporary racist policies – of the Democratic Party. It has for too long been a history hidden behind a smokescreen of political propaganda.
I saw it as a means of bringing out the reality of institutional racism that has continued in the major Democrat-controlled cities for more than 150 years after the Civil War. It was the urban racism that brought Martin Luther King and his crusade for justice to Chicago – deemed one of the most racist cities in America throughout the Twentieth Century. They are the cities in which racial oppression has produced the iconic, destructive and too often deadly protests and riots for generations.
My personal strategy came crashing down when the newly inaugurated President Trump hung the portrait of President Jackson in the Oval Office and traveled to the birthplace of Jackson as if it were some sort of political Mecca – or Jerusalem if you prefer.
At the time, I penned a commentary entitled “Trump blew it.” Trump is not a deep diver in history and was obviously the victim of the burnished and glamourized fairytale “Old Hickory.” Unfortunately, he exalted the most viciously racist President in American History. I was disturbed seeing a group of Native Americans posing with Trump in the Oval Office under the portrait of Jackson.
The less informed may not be aware of the depth of Wilson’s white supremacy. He segregated the United States military and the Executive Branch of the federal government. One of his key implementers of the policy was a Navy Department bureaucrat named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Wilson introduced photographs as part of job applications to ensure that no Negroes would be inadvertently hired.
Wilson created history when he was the first President to view a movie in the White House. It was “Birth of a Nation” – a glorification of the Ku Klux Klan. The silent movie even featured a quote from Wilson – pictured atop this commentary. He was frequently complimentary of the Klan – and during his tenure, the KKK grew to tens of thousands of members – even openly parading in Washington in support of Wilson.
Prior to the White House, Wilson served as President of Princeton University where he blocked black admissions. While Wilson is associated with Princeton and New Jersey, his strident racism was the result of his formative years. He was the son of a one-time slave-owning family in Virginia – although slavery was ended by the time he was born. They were Confederates and bitter over their loss in the Civil War and the loss of slavery.
I have no problem with remembering history – even the villains. But the statues, plaques and flags should not be given places of honor and respect. They should be relegated to museums where they can serve in an appropriate educational role.
In conclusion, there needs to be some explanation as to why I do not feel the same about our nation’s Founders and others. It is a matter of balance between the good a person did – and the evil. Virtually all the Founders, with the notable exception of John Adams and Ben Franklin, were slave owners. They were the men of their times – born in an era of slavery. They did not invent it – nor did they advance it. In fact, Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and others longed for the day that slavery would be abolished. They said so repeatedly.
They were among the most humane slave owners – contrasting starkly to Jackson. In fact, Washington left his slaves to his wife, Martha, to be freed upon her demise or at her will. She subsequently emancipated the Washington slaves.
Jefferson was a slave owner, but his sentiments were expressed in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. His expression that “all men are created equal” was a shot across the bow of the southern slave colonies. It was so important that President Lincoln often referred to it and used It as the justification for the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Founders willfully created a constitution that could amend any weaknesses of their times – especially slavery. They did that with the hope and belief that slavery would one day be ended in America. As the expression goes, they “greased the skids” on the question of slavery.
The good the Founders did far outweigh the fact that they were part of the slave-owning zeitgeist of colonial America. They were men of strong moral character even as they existed in a world of established immoral policies.
Jackson was a man with a fundamental belief that all men are NOT created equal. He fully embraced and brutally acted upon his belief in white supremacy. The same with Wilson. He was not a man of his times, but a person who imposed evil racist policies on America despite the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and a myriad of federal laws and court decisions.
Trump’s blunder has had monumental (no pun intended) implications because it allowed the Democrats to again dodge their culpability for institutional racism in America – then and now. And use dubious voter oppression narratives to divert attention from contemporary racism in America’s segregated cities.
It is good to see that even in some small way, the people at the grassroots have begun to recognize the racial hypocrisy and have taken action to expose it. The school has not yet chosen a new name, but there are many good ones from which to select. If you want to underscore the racist issue, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman would be excellent choices.
So. There ‘tis.
High School Changes It’s Name Over ‘Racist’ Namesake – Democrat President Wilson
BY JOHN HANSON
DECEMBER 16, 2021 AT 2:55PM
A high school in New Jersey named after former President Woodrow Wilson – a noted hyperprogressive – is changing its name over its namesake’s legacy of racism.
This story was first reported by NJ.com.
Activists Petitioned To Change School Name
According to the Camden High School District, the process of renaming the high school will begin soon after activists began circulating a petition to change the school’s name for nearly a year and a half.
The school was built in 1930.
The change.org petition reads, “After years of examining the legacy of former US President Woodrow Wilson, WE have come to see that his views and actions contradict the values and diversity We see in Woodrow Wilson High School today as well as the society WE live in Camden NJ.”
“We must be honest with Our People about the truth of a School that was named after a white Supremacist who was a former US President,” the petition added. “To continue to have such a name on a school only aides as a continuous reminder of a true systemic oppression that has not only been foreseen by US as parents but also Now through the eyes of Our Children today.”
The petition gathered more attention after the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed in the summer of 2020.
In June, Camden School District Superintendent Katrina McCombs cited community concern about the school “being named after an individual who expressed and demonstrated racist values.”
The school has not yet settled on a new name.
The move is notable in that, while the ‘woke’ crowd has gone after Confederates and even the Founding Fathers, Woodrow Wilson is perhaps the ‘founding father’ of American progressivism, at least among Presidents.
“It’s too early in the process to speculate on specific names,” a school spokesperson told NJ.com.
School Statement: ‘We are proud that our schools represent places of diversity and inclusion’
“We are proud that our schools represent places of diversity and inclusion, and we plan to increase our efforts to reshape the identity of this venerable and cherished school,” the district said in a statement to NJ.com.
“We plan to collaboratively work with current Wilson students, parents, alumni, and community leaders on an inclusive process to rename the school.”
“The district is grateful for the collaboration and support of the community on these efforts and looks forward to completing this significant project,” the statement added. ThePoliticalInsider.com