UC Berkeley Removes Lawyer’s Name From Building Over Alleged Racist Past
“made racist comments against Chinese people and helped spur the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882”
This doesn’t change the past, but it makes campus activists feel better.
The Hill reports:
UC-Berkeley law school removes ‘racist symbol’ of building’s name
The University of California, Berkeley School of Law has “denamed” a school building named after a 19th century man who made racist comments against Chinese people and helped spur the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
John Boalt’s name was taken off the campus building Thursday. It is the first time a Berkeley facility’s name has been removed due to “its namesake’s character or actions,” according to a Thursday statement from the university.
In 2017, Charles Reichmann, an attorney and law lecturer, found and publicized Boalt’s racist writings. The Thursday statement explains that “John Henry Boalt was instrumental in legitimizing anti-Chinese racism and in catalyzing support for passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the nation’s first immigration ban on a specific group of people solely on the basis of race or nationality.”
Boalt wrote that “the Caucasian and Mongolian races are non-assimilated races.” He cited five reasons “why races might fail to assimilate,” according to the Thursday statement, including “physical peculiarities,” “intellectual differences and differences of temperament,” “differences in language and customs,” “hatred engendered by conquest or by clashing of national or race interests” and “religious fanaticism.”
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What will they name it? Malcolm X? MLK? Caesar Chavez? Eldridge Cleaver?
What led to Boalt’s name being on the building in the first place? Was it perhaps in return for a grant or endowment, and if so, will Berkeley be guilty of a contract violation if they remove it? Does he have any heirs who can sue?
I can guarantee that most future donations will have “return of funds” as a clause.