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Woodrow Wilson And Renaming Our History47:54Download

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The hot debate over Woodrow Wilson’s legacy and whether his name should be removed from the Princeton campus for his racist views. It’s now a national debate. Plus, protests drive Chicago's police chief to resign.

Tents are erected outside of Princeton University's Nassau Hall, where students are staging a sit-in, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Princeton, N.J. The protesters from a group called the Black Justice League, who staged a sit-in inside university President Christopher Eisgruber's office on Tuesday, demand the school remove the name of former school president and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson from programs and buildings over what they said was his racist legacy. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Tents are erected outside of Princeton University's Nassau Hall, where students are staging a sit-in, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Princeton, N.J. The protesters from a group called the Black Justice League, who staged a sit-in inside university President Christopher Eisgruber's office on Tuesday, demand the school remove the name of former school president and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson from programs and buildings over what they said was his racist legacy. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

On American college campuses right now, there is a fever on to call out racism, confront history, and rename college buildings. The biggest call of all may be over Woodrow Wilson. The 28th president of the United States is revered for many things, but on race he now looks pretty bad. Undeniably bad. Racist. So, should his name come off Princeton’s famed Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs? Is that fair? Is that necessary?  This hour On Point, American history, American racism, the American campus – and Woodrow Wilson. Plus, we’ll go to race and the police in Chicago.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Joshua Guild, professor or history and African American studies at Princeton University. (@jbguild)

Julian Zelizer, professor of history at Princeton University and fellow at the New America Foundation. Author of "The Fierce Urgency of Now." (@julianzelizer)

From Tom’s Reading List

CNN: Erasing Woodrow Wilson's name is not that easy — "The truth is that the record of most political leaders is complicated. Most presidents and legislators have complex and often contradictory records that are difficult to judge. With Wilson, the question that has emerged for many observers is how to weigh his record of racism against the fact that he was one of the most progressive presidents at that point in history."

New York Times: What Woodrow Wilson Cost My Grandfather — "Wilson, a Virginia-born Democrat, is mostly remembered as a progressive, internationalist statesman, a benign and wise leader, a father of modern American political science and one of our nation’s great presidents. But he was also an avowed racist. And unlike many of his predecessors and successors in the White House, he put that racism into action through public policy."

The Nation: Woodrow Wilson, Princeton, and the Complex Landscape of Race — " The past surrounds us at every turn: in the laws and cultural practices that have shaped our institutions and personal experiences, in the material culture of our everyday surroundings, in the very names we put on buildings. The protesters at Princeton remind us of that. They remind us, too, that history is dynamic."

Chicago Protests Push Police Chief Out Of Office

Hal Dardick, city hall reporter for the Chicago Tribune. (@ReporterHal)

Malcolm London, poet and activist in Chicago. (@MalcolmLondon)

Chicago Tribune: Emanuel dismisses Garry McCarthy as Chicago Police Department superintendent — "Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday announced he has dismissed Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, citing a lack of public trust in the police leadership in the wake of the high-profile shooting that eventually led to a white officer being charged with first-degree murder in the death of a black teen shot 16 times in a Southwest Side street last year."

This program aired on December 2, 2015.

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