One of former president Bill Clinton’s late mentors is reigniting the debate over whether of not to tear down statues of American icons.
The University of Arkansas is debating the removal of a statue of late Sen. James William Fullbright, pointing to his opposition of certain civil rights legislation and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.
Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz advocated for the statue to be moved from the center of attention to a more remote location in in a letter to the university’s president.
“While Senator Fulbright fell short on integration and civil rights, scholars, biographers and former staffers have largely tied his shortcomings to the demands of political expediency of the times. For them, his votes did not reflect a hardened personal racism toward African Americans. Instead, they were more a reflection of his need to appease a voting constituency that was not ready for social change,” the letter reads.
“Nevertheless, the record exists and we cannot ignore the impact this had on the lives of people struggling for basic civil rights – nor ignore how demoralizing it must have been to see one of the Senate’s most progressive leaders yield to racist policies. I believe it is […]