Finally, justice has been served.
And it rocks.
Last November, I covered the story of a stony situation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
It's a tale dating back nearly 150 years.
In 1887, Thomas Chamberlin became president of UW-M.
He held the position for five years.
Thomas had been Wisconsin's state geologist from 1873 to 1882.
In 1925, a large boulder — officially deemed Chamberlin Rock — was adorned with a plaque in his honor.
As state geologist, [Thomas] conducted a survey distinguished for high scientific and economic value.
As president, he made the spirit of research effective in the organization and life of the university.
He first distinguished and named the drifts left in this region by successive ice advances. This boulder, brought by the continental glacier from ancient pre-cambrian bedrock in Canada, was deposited here in the Wisconsin or latest glacial drift, of which this hill is a part.
But the 1920's were drastically different than their century-ahead counterpart.
In a newspaper article at the time, the rock was called a “n—head” — a common expression of the era for any large, dark rock.
That absolutely awful term fell out of favor by the 1950's, and all was well in the rock memorial world.
Until recently, that is, when UW-M students unearthed the incendiary 1925 clipping.
Per the Wisconsin State Journal, “University historians identified the news story as the only known instance of the offensive [reference] being used.”
But one's too many, so school leaders said the racist rock had to go.
Better luck next time, Mr. Chamberlin.
From my previous write-up:
Thomas was…born in 1843.
It's an unusual lesson to learn: If you have a monument named for you; and if three years before you die, someone calls it something terrible; then 177 years after your birth, it could be decried as a symbol of sin.
The cost of extraction had been estimated at $30,000-$75,000.
And three options had been eyed: moving the rock somewhere off-campus, burying it at the site of its original location, or breaking it up and disposing of it.
Well, a decision was made, and this week saw the campus's conscience take a load off.
As reported by Louisville's NBC3, virtue has prevailed.
Early Friday morning, a large crane raised the monstrous chunk of naturally-occurring solid mass and rolled that stone away.
Racism, you're removed:
🚨#BREAKING : University of Wisconsin removes Chamberlin Rock, seen as sign of racism
The University of Wisconsin removed a large 70 ton boulder from its Madison campus on Friday at the request of minority students who view the rock as a symbol of racism pic.twitter.com/qFHTZCn8tW
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) August 7, 2021
“Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing,” said @d8alder.
The rest of the story on the removal of Chamberlin Rock Friday morning: https://t.co/rSy2vBJZEn
— Erin Gretzinger (@GretzingerErin) August 6, 2021
On Thursday, University of Wisconsin-Madison issued a statement:
“[R]emoving the rock as a monument in a prominent location prevents further harm to our community while preserving the rock's educational and research value for current and future scholars.”
The aggregate of minerals/mineraloid matter will now reside on university-owned land near Lake Kegonsa — which is clearly different and vastly morally superior.
The rejected rock is believed to be over two billion years old.
Wokeness, of course, is ageless.
And how might the newly vacant space be used?
The Daily Cardinal touched on that months ago:
[President Nalah McWorter] said the…Black Student Union will consider ideas on how students of color can utilize the space on Observatory Hill to reflect a more positive environment.
That's all well and good, but there are more problems to be solved.
Indeed, activists shouldn't lose sight of the forest for the trees:
I demand they cut down all the trees that witnessed this rock's behavior! https://t.co/7isCvehyef
— Bran (@McCauley_B3) August 6, 2021
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