Congratulations to Princeton, which, like many of our educational institutions, has succumbed to the not-so irrational fear of being branded as “racist.” The trustees concluded that “Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college … This University and its school of public and international affairs must stand clearly and firmly for equality and justice. The school will now be known as ‘The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.’”

Woodrow Wilson served two terms as president of the United States from 1913 to 1921. He has regularly been ranked by historians as one of our greatest presidents. He led the nation through the first great World War (1914-1918); created and championed the first global concept for resolution of international disputes — the League of Nations, forerunner to the United Nations; received the 1919 Nobel Peace Prize; worked tirelessly to get the U.S. to join the League (1918-1924); and added the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote. These mammoth accomplishments have since been “whitewashed” by allegations that he was a proponent of segregation.

Wilson is not alone. Racist charges have been heaped on the Father of our Country, George Washington (slave ownership); Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence  (slave ownership); Andrew Jackson, Old Hickory and a populist president (slave ownership); Teddy Roosevelt (racist); Christopher Columbus, who never set foot on U.S. soil (racist).

Falsely charged of racism are Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass, the ardent abolitionist. Even Francis Scott Key, who authored the Star-Spangled Banner, has been tagged as a racist. There are calls for a new National Anthem. Perhaps we could replace the words “Oh say can you see” with a more inclusive message, like “Oh say can we take a knee“ to show our distain for America and its flag.

Omitted from this hysteric clamor for progressive political correctness is FDR, who marched all those U.S. Japanese off to prison camps. Also exempt is civil-rights champion Lyndon Johnson, whose relationships with Black people were marred by his Southern prejudices. According to his chauffer, Robert Parker, Johnson consistently addressed him with racial epithets. 

As a 1956 graduate of the Princeton Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, I find it puzzling that Wilson School alumni were not polled before erasing the name. Was it feared that graduates are racist and can’t be trusted to do the right thing?

Bob Hazard ’56
Santa Barbara, Calif.