UC Berkeley Adjunct Calls For Renaming Building Because of Namesake’s Alleged Anti Chinese Sentiment
“The Chinese Question”
Removing statues and renaming buildings makes liberals feel better about themselves but it also erases history which should be remembered.
Berkeley is the latest to get in on this. Charles Reichmann, an adjunct at Berkeley, recently wrote this for the San Francisco Chronicle:
The case for renaming Boalt Hall
Berkeley Law’s main classroom building is named Boalt Hall after John Henry Boalt, whose widow, Elizabeth Josselyn, made a substantial donation to erect a building in memory of her husband, dedicated in 1911…
Who was Boalt? Berkeley Law’s website identifies him only as an attorney and the husband of its benefactor. An established lawyer in Nevada, Boalt moved to California in 1871 at a time when Chinese immigration was rising in the state. From the time of the Gold Rush, Chinese settlers had come to California, but the 1870s saw their numbers increase 67 percent. By 1880 a full 8.7 percent of California’s population was Chinese, with few eligible for citizenship. The 1870s were also an era of economic crisis and increasing class tensions. Labor groups — and politicians eager to court them — blamed the Chinese for unemployment, poor working conditions and low wages. The call for Chinese exclusion began to be heard in the Golden State.
Boalt prospered in California and soon was president of the Bohemian Club. In 1877, Boalt delivered an influential address, “The Chinese Question,” at the Berkeley Club. …
Recognizing the limits of California’s power in the federal system, Boalt proposed an unprecedented move — holding an advisory ballot measure to send a message to Eastern elites that California spoke with one voice on the Chinese. The Chronicle praised this proposal and the Legislature agreed; it was signed into law late in 1877, and two years later the voters by large majorities voted to advise Congress to put an end to Chinese immigration.
Boalt’s virulently racist “The Chinese Question” was included in an official report of the state of California, thousands of copies of which were distributed to influence newspapers and elected officials throughout the land. In 1882, largely as a result of California’s lobbying, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first federal law banning a group of immigrants solely on the basis of race or nationality.
Hat tip to the TaxProfBlog.
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