The Black Justice League of Princeton University was disappointed with the university’s recent decision not to remove former President Woodrow Wilson’s name from campus buildings.
Yesterday, the Ivy League university announced an exhibit about the former President to the dismay of student protesters like the Black Justice League.
The group made headlines after leading protests last year calling for more inclusivity for students of color and a review of Wilson’s legacy.
Atlanta Black Star reported Monday that the exhibit “In the Nation’s Service? Woodrow Wilson Revisited,” will look at the life of the man, including his role as president of Princeton from 1902 to 1910 and his years as the country’s 28th president from 1913 until 1921.
Wilson’s past racism and bigotry has come front and center with the news of this new exhibit. Wilson was a strong supporter of Jim Crow, the 1900s film Birth of a Nation that glorified the Ku Klux Klan, and he was an adversary to Black freedom activists and intellectuals like W.E.B Du Bois, Ida B. Wells and Marcus Garvey.
The Black Justice League of Princeton took to medium to vent their grievances about the situation. In the post, the group stated:
“… While our demands regarding Woodrow Wilson have remained at the forefront of conversations and have garnered overwhelming media attention, it was neither our primary nor our only demand. We have also demanded the removal of the Woodrow Wilson mural (which the report does not directly address), the establishment of cultural competency training for staff and faculty, amendments to the general education requirements that would incorporate issues around diversity and marginalization, and the creation of a Black cultural space — demands that have yet to be fully met…”
According to New Jersey online, the university will not part ways with the former president; instead they have created a council for diversity. The Special Trustee Committee on Diversity & Inclusion was created as a way to pacify many who believed the university was not handling the issues of race and diversity on the campus.
However, the author of the medium post believes that the various racial incidents, such as “violent anti-Semitic attacks on campus” reveal the university’s inability to deal with hate on the campus.
The Wilson Legacy Review Committee — charged with deciding what to do with Wilson — agreed with protesters that the man had racist views and a history of bigotry but they will not remove the name from buildings.
This move counters that of Harvard Law, which has began to remove symbols of slavery from its campus and buildings. The family seal of slave-owner and benefactor Isaac Royall was removed last month after a string of protests on that campus.
The Black Justice League has joined “a growing contingent of Black students who recognize the limits of academic institutions as pioneers of transformative social justice” in order to push for more diversity at the university.