There were more than a few objections to the noble fight, not least that removing the names of racist figures cannot rectify their past sins–nor does it help those in the present day understand history’s darker moments and complexities.
Removing admired statesman but horrendously pro-slavery John Calhoun’s name from a college at Yale, or racist but respected president and designer of the League of Nations Woodrow Wilson’s name from his school at Princeton, also do not rectify modern inequalities.
“It’s not doing the hard work of education,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor Alfred L. Brophy told The Daily Beast. “Once you do the renaming, everyone forgets.”
2015 also saw a ridiculous twist in the renaming battles. While there may be a legitimate debate over how to handle monuments and buildings named for people who are clearly racist, sexist, and homophobic by today’s standards, a group of students at a Pennsylvania college wanted a building renamed because the name merely sounded like a racially-charged act.
At Lebanon Valley College, some students demanded that the campus building Lynch Memorial Hall be renamed.