Speaking as a former resident of Wilson College, a graduate of what was the Woodrow Wilson School, but also a member of an old abolitionist Hoosier family, I could not be more pleased at Princeton finally so awakening to the ignominy of Woodrow Wilson’s name as to remove it from places of honor.
Wilson’s racism should not so long have been dismissed by Princeton as those “of his time.” That is an insult to other men and women, also of his time, of greater character than he.
For instance, I think of my great grandfather, Maurice Douglas, a farmer, a businessman, and an Indiana State Senator who was then loudly opposing the Ku Klux Klan as it was becoming a major power in our state. A delegation came to him to ask him to run for governor with the condition that he drop his opposition to the Klan, which he declined to do. His opposition to the Klan was also the basis of his defeat in a run for Congress.
Woodrow Wilson was not just a lesser man who achieved high office, fame, and honors by doing that which better people of his time declined to do; he was a leader in driving his own day backward.
Meanwhile, men and women like Maurice Douglas die unknown to history not because at defining moments swimming against some tide they weren’t of greater character, but precisely because they were.