Yale Dishwasher Destroys Stained-Glass Window Depicting Slaves

1468338874154We have been discussing the effort of protesters to strip universities of references and images connected to segregation or slavery, including the names of Framers. Now, a dishwasher has taken it upon himself to smash a stained-glass window at Yale University because it depicted what he considered a racist scene. What is interesting is that, even though Corey Menafee was fired, Yale was already planning to remove the windows as part of a new initiative to remove such images.

Just a Hollywood celebrities and producers recently claimed the right to deface posters of movies with “tired” images, Menafee decided that,  if he felt a stained glass window was offensive, he had the unilateral privilege to destroy it with a broomstick.

Menafee, 38, is facing a felony criminal mischief charge and has now apologized but also claims that the property destruction is a form of civil obedience.
yale window240px-John_C_Calhoun_by_Mathew_Brady,_March_1849-cropThe window was one of a series of stained-glass panels depicting various moments from the life of building namesake and former U.S. vice president  John C. Calhoun. Calhoun was  defender of states rights, including the right to legalize slavery.  A recent effort to strip the building of his name failed but Yale has decided to remove the panels.

I disagree with the removal of such historic windows or references.  Indeed, I believe it is a constant reminder of not just our acceptance of slavery but the connections of leading institutions like Yale with that immoral period.  We should not scrub away history but recognize it and learn from it. Many of the great works and buildings of Europe show scenes of slavery and other evil practices. Preserving such historical artifacts and objects is not an endorsement of the practices but a recognition of human history.

Menafee should face accountability for his crime but Yale should also face the questions about its approach to its own history.

What do you think?


26 thoughts on “Yale Dishwasher Destroys Stained-Glass Window Depicting Slaves”

  1. The erasing of history is both stupid and dangerous. Those seeking to wipe anything offending are bigots. (I have always felt bigotry was an outgrowth of ignorance and fear. As they say, knowledge sets us free.) W. e need to stop being so full of ourselves and stop judging others (and other eras) by our frame of morality. We should seek to understand why others did what they did. This does not mean accepting what others do/think. My great uncle once told me: “We have to know where we have been to understand where we are and plan where we want to go.” We need to know our history – the events and the ideologies involved – if we are to understand. The polarization and attempt to silence all who see through different lenses will bury us and silence all that is good.

  2. @Dieter

    First, how is the diet coming along??? Fine I hope. Just don’t over-carb yourself in case you are going vegan.

    Second, yes it was Oberlin college where I think some descendants of WWII veterans attacked the sushi bar or something like that. I think the Der Wienerschnitzel Restaurant chain should probably put on extra security, too, just to be on the safe side.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  3. Oberlin College was founded when chattel slavery was still legal in the USA. Destroying that window does not change that fact.

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