The New York Times on Thursday published an advertisement calling for Yale to be renamed after someone who was not a brutal, white supremacist slave-trader. A Harvard man named Jeremiah Dummer fits the bill, New Criterion editor and American Greatness contributor Roger Kimball argues.
In the oped, first published at American Greatness, Kimball adds his voice to a growing cacophony of conservative voices seeking to #CancelYale.
In the ad, Kimball writes, “if the Left can deface or destroy statues of George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, and countless others, shouldn’t we insist that they live up to their own ideals and cancel racially tainted liberal institutions like Yale?”
He adds: “I think an example should be made of corrupt institutions like Yale and craven leaders like Peter Salovey, the university’s president.”
Kimball points out that Yale decided to change the name of Calhoun College a few years ago because its namesake, John C. Calhoun, was a slave owner. Calhoun was a Yale graduate and valedictorian who served his country as a congressman, senator, secretary of war, secretary of state, and vice president. A man of his times, he also argued that owning slaves was a “positive good” because slaveowners could provide better for slaves than they could themselves.
Unlike Calhoun, Kimball argues in the ad that Yale’s namesake has no redeeming qualities that should prevent him from being “canceled” in 2020 America.
As far as I have been able to determine, Elihu Yale never set foot in New Haven. His benefaction of some books and goods worth £800 helped found Yale College, not Yale University. And whereas the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica praises Calhoun for his “just and kind” treatment of slaves and the “stainless integrity” of his character, Elihu Yale had slaves flogged, hanged a stable boy for stealing a horse, and was eventually removed from his post in India for corruption. In Calhoun’s day, although one could own slaves, participating in the international slave trade was a capital crime. Yale, as an administrator in India, was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. Is all that
not “fundamentally at odds” with the mission of Peter Salovey’s Yale?
Kimball suggests that a better name for the university would be “Dummer,” named after Jeremiah Dummer, “the Harvard chap” who induced Elihu Yale to help found Yale with a massive benefaction.
“By all means, cancel Yale. Remove the horrid name from clothing and other merchandise,” said Kimball. “But replace it with a more honorable name: Dummer. Dummer University. The Dummer School of Law. The Dummer School of Art. A Dummer degree.”
This advertisement in the NYTs was paid for by the Center for American Greatness.