Little Rock's Roosevelt Thompson honored at Yale amid John Calhoun controversy | Arkansas Blog

Monday, July 11, 2016

Little Rock's Roosevelt Thompson honored at Yale amid John Calhoun controversy

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 7:26 AM

A year-long, unsuccessful campaign by Yale University students to strip a residence hall of the name of slavery advocate John Calhoun has led to a campus memorial for Little Rock native Roosevelt Thompson, a Yale graduate killed in a 1984 car wreck shortly before he was to begin study in England on a Rhodes Scholarship.

The dining hall at Calhoun College, where Thompson lived as a Yale student, will be named in his honor. Stained glass windows in the college that depict Calhoun's life also are being removed. The steps were taken by Julia Adams, head of Calhoun College, independent of the Yale corporation's decision not to remove the Calhoun name from the residential unit.

click to enlarge COMING DOWN: Window depicting John Calhoun - YALE DAILY NEWS
  • Yale Daily News
  • COMING DOWN: Window depicting John Calhoun
Student reaction from the Yale News:

Austin Strayhorn ’19, a Calhoun student who belongs to the Black Men’s Union, said he welcomed the changes but still resents the overall naming decision.
“There are no consolation prizes in this war,” Strayhorn said.

But Alex Zhang ’18 — whose Jan. 25 column in the News helped ignite a student campaign to name the college after Thompson — expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of a Roosevelt Thompson dining hall.

“The dining hall, one might argue, is a centerpiece in residential college life,” Zhang told the News. “It represents community, fellowship, and joy. Roosevelt Thompson demonstrated those values to the fullest.”

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