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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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Will Princeton Re-Name Nassau Hall – Named for Slave Trading William of Nassau – King William III?

Princeton’s President, the very self-same president who issued that statement about the “inappropriate namesake” who was Wilson, has his own office in Nassau Hall.

[dropcap style=”dropcap_style1″ textcolor=”#c00″ background=”#ffffff” fontweight=”900″]Ya just can’t make this up.  The other day, Princeton ostentatiously announced that it was stripping the name of the 20th-century progressive leader and two-time Democrat President Woodrow Wilson from Princeton’s school for public policy.
The statement released by Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said this:

“When I wrote to you on Monday morning, June 22, I noted that the Princeton University Board of Trustees was discussing how the University could oppose racism and would soon convene a special meeting on that topic. The meeting took place yesterday, June 26. On my recommendation, the board voted to change the names of both the School of Public and International Affairs and Wilson College. As you will see from the board’s statement, the trustees concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms.”

Ahhhhh. Catch that last sentence? This one that said:

“….the trustees concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms.”

Well now. Let’s put aside that this was a belated admission that the Democratic Party and progressives were in fact using racism to fuel their party and movement. Shift your attention instead to Nassau Hall, the oldest building at Princeton. Here is Wikipedia’s description of Nassau Hall, bold print for emphasis:

Princeton’s President, the very self-same president who issued that statement about the “inappropriate namesake” who was Wilson, has his own office in Nassau Hall.

“At present, Nassau Hall houses Princeton University’s administrative offices, including that of the university president. Old Nassau refers affectionately to the building and serves as a metonym for the university as a whole.”

So Princeton’s President, the very self-same president who issued that statement about the “inappropriate namesake” who was Wilson, has his own office in Nassau Hall.

Which, ahem, raises this question: For whom is “Nassau Hall” named?

That would be King William III of England – also known as William of Nassau. It seems that the British colonial governor, Governor Jonathan Belcher, described as the “founder, patron and benefactor” of the College of New Jersey that was renamed Princeton, requested that the building in question be named for William, saying that doing so would express “the honour we retain, in this remote part of the globe, to the immortal memory of the glorious King William III who was a branch of the illustrious house of Nassau.”

And just who was William of Nassau? Go over here to the BBC – yes indeed, the BBC – and one finds this description of William of Nassau in a BBC section focused on “Legacies.” l In this case the article in question focuses on Bristol, England. The title of the article:  Legacies of the Slave Trade.

Records the BBC, bold print supplied for emphasis:

“By the 18th Century Bristol was England’s second city and port, and as a result of this prosperity, a building and investment boom took place in Bristol and nearby Bath. Local merchants voraciously lobbied King William III to be allowed to participate in the African trade, which until 1698 was a crown monopoly granted to The Royal African Company.

Bristol merchants were granted the right to trade in slaves in 1698 and it did not take them long to turn the business opportunity into profit. From 1698 to the end of the Slave Trade in Britain in 1807, just over 2,100 Bristol ships set sail on slaving voyages. According to Richardson (The Bristol Slave Traders: A Collective Portrait Bristol: Historical Association, Bristol Branch, 1984), this amounted to around 500,000 Africans who were carried into slavery, representing just under one-fifth of the British trade in slaves of this period.”

So what do have here? After ostentatiously giving progressive champion and Democrat Woodrow Wilson the boot for being an “inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms”…the President of Princeton retreats to his office in….Nassau Hall. The very same Nassau Hall that is named for William of Nassau, whom the BBC identifies as granting Bristol merchants the right “to be allowed to participate in the African trade.” Which they quite enthusiastically did, with the BBC saying that as a result of King William’s action:

“….around 500,000 Africans who were carried into slavery, representing just under one-fifth of the British trade in slaves of this period.”

So. The obvious question. Will Princeton strip the oldest building on its campus of its name ….because it is named for the British King who approved the policy that allowed 500,000 Africans to be carried into slavery?

And yes, also obvious? Will Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber move his office from Nassau Hall in protest?

Stay tuned.

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