As a freshman in 1969 I met with Professor Arthur S. Link, the official keeper of Woodrow Wilson’s papers, and told him I had decided in junior high school to attend Princeton after reading Professor Link’s book, Wilson: The Road to the White House. Professor Link graciously admitted me to his upper-class American history course. Professor Link never hid from his students that President Wilson was a racist who resegregated the federal workforce.
I recently learned that President Wilson created the National Park Service in 1916. To everyone who has visited a national park, I ask: What is Wilson’s most lasting legacy — his racism as a Virginian born in 1856, or the National Park Service he created as a key Progressive of the early 20th century?