Wisconsin: US university has to remove 70-ton stone

An old stone is no longer allowed to stand on the grounds of the University of Wisconsin (USA).

Reason: The 70 ton boulder – rare specimen of a two billion old glacier stone – is said to be racist!

Some students felt hurt by the stone because a newspaper article from 1925 said that the university’s landmark was insultingly referred to by some as the head of a dark-skinned person.

Result: The stone had to be removed after protests by activists of the “Black Students Union”. An excavator moved him to another part of the university campus. Costs: Around 50,000 dollars (the equivalent of around 42,500 euros), accumulated from private donations.

The historians of the university found no evidence that members of the university used this racist term. The fact is: Most of the time, the “Chamberlin Rock” was named after the geologist Thomas Crowder Chamberlin († 1928), who was also president of the Wisconsin University from 1887 to 1892.

However, historians referred to the Ku Klux Klan, which caused unrest in Madison in the first half of the 20th century. In addition, there were racist demonstrations and writings on the part of the university at that time, in which blacks were insulted and devalued, one reads on the homepage of the “University of Wisconsin-Madison”.

The plaque honoring the geologist was also removed from the stone and is now to be installed in the university’s physics building, the “Chamberlin Hall”.

A statement from the university states: “Removing the stone as a monument from its prominent place protects our community from further harm, while at the same time preserving its value for educational and research purposes for the students.”

Explosive: As early as 2020, the activists called for the banning of the stone – together with a statue of Abraham Lincoln on campus – one of the most important US presidents in history and opponent of slavery, who is nevertheless targeted by some “Black Lives Matter” activists is. Removing and decapitating statues – related to the colonial era – was particularly popular during the protests last year.

►The sociologist Prof. Dr. Ulrike Ackermann sees this as a dangerous form of cancel culture. “This is a classic case of the disposal of history: that you no longer see previous racism if you eradicate it.” You have to deal with earlier, racist acts of the past and to do that you have to see them and you cannot erase them. “


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