(p. A1) PRINCETON, N.J. — Few figures loom as large in the life of an Ivy League university as Woodrow Wilson does at Princeton.
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But until posters started appearing around campus in September, one aspect of Wilson’s legacy was seldom discussed: his racist views, and the ways he acted on them as president of the United States.
The posters, put up by a year-old student group called the Black Justice League, featured some of Wilson’s more offensive quotes, including his comment to an African-American leader that “segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you,” and led to a remarkable two days at this genteel (p. A17) campus last week.
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Perhaps best known for leading the United States during World War I and for trying to start the League of Nations, Wilson as president rolled back gains blacks had made since Reconstruction, removing black officials from the federal government and overseeing the segregation of rank-and-file workers.
Raised in the South, he wrote of “a great Ku Klux Klan” that rose up to rid whites of “the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant Negroes.”
During Wilson’s tenure as president of Princeton, no blacks were admitted — “The whole temper and tradition of the place are such that no Negro has ever applied,” he wrote — though Harvard and Yale had admitted blacks decades earlier. Princeton admitted its first black student in the 1940s.
For the full story, see:
ANDY NEWMAN. “At Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, a Heralded Alum, Is Recast as an Intolerant One.” The New York Times (Mon., NOV. 23, 2015): A1 & A17.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date NOV. 22, 2015.)