On June 13, 2020, Clemson University president Jim Clements proclaimed, “this was an important day for Clemson-a historic day for Clemson.” Nothing could be further from the truth. It was but another victory for historical revisionists and “presentism.”
On the day before, University Trustees voted 13-0 to remove John C. Calhoun’s name from the University’s Honors College because he was a slave owner. I had naively held out hope that Clemson’s history, including the Calhoun Honors College, would somehow manage to be stay separate and apart from the country’s racial unrest. It was, nevertheless, swept up in the rage.
Does anyone seriously believe that the Honors College was named for John C. Calhoun because he was a slave owner? And listening to the conversation and speeches, you would think Calhoun had no other distinguishing traits. No one has mentioned that John C. Calhoun was one of the greatest political thinkers in the history of our country. No one has mentioned that he served as Vice President of the United States, was a US Senator, a member of the House of Representatives, and served in several Cabinet positions as well as several state legislative positions.
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