Thursday, 5 July 2018

Yale university's tryst with slavery!!

Elihu Yale and Yale University,, New Haven, CT The News Minute
Yale Uni. stained glass windows depicting slaves. Huffington Post
 Founded in 1701, Yale University is an American private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut and  it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It has the honor of being one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. You'll be surprised to know that the university's assets include an endowment valued at $27.2 billion as of June 2017, being the second largest endowment of any U.S. educational institution. Yet another credit is  the Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States.

This popular university is embroiled in a serious controversy, and in the last 3 years its link with the slavery, has been widely discussed and debated and one time in the recent past triggered demonstrations and protests by students as well as by the faculty. That Yale - university is deeply implicated in the institution of slavery can not be ignored, according to many Historians.  The school is very much interwoven  with the scourge of slavery in the past era and can not be erased that easily.  Elihu Yale, its benefactor of this august and venerable institution, was himself an active and successful slave trader in India. Is it not paradoxical?

Protests against slavery, in the past, had been there for  sometime. It was German and Dutch Quakers  who in 1688 protested against slavery and later  they cut off  their ties to slavery in the eighteenth century while building a reputation as profitable and successful merchants  Unfortunately, others never cared for the subjugation of other humans who were treated like cattle on the market. Nor did they come closer to realization that they were degrading, ill-treating and humiliating fellow humans just because they were not "White". Quakers  were hardly the only ones to protest the institution. In 1712, a major slave rebellion shook  New York City, in which at least nine Europeans and twenty-seven Africans lost their lives.
US 7th VP. John Calhoun,pro-slavery. Newsweek
Yale university has many  prominent buildings  that are named after slaveholders or slavery apologists.  Besides, it briefly seceded from the Union at the start of the Civil War because it had so many  students  from southern states.  Yale has as  many as 12 colleges under its jurisdiction. The Calhoun College since 1960 has been in the center of heated debate as it  was named for a man who was the 7th US Vice-President, a hard-core racist and an ardent supporter of slavery.  In 1837 Calhoun argued more vehemently than  many of 19th-century pro-slavery politicians, that slavery was neither a necessary evil nor a moral conundrum but a “positive good … indispensable to the peace and happiness” of both races. He  stated falsely on the Senate floor ,  “Never before has the black race of Central Africa, from the dawn of history to the present day, attained a condition so civilized and so improved, not only physically, but morally and intellectually,”

In Feb 2017 Yale President Peter Salovey scrapped the name Calhoun and renamed the college  in honor of Grace Murray Hopper, a 1934 graduate and United States Navy rear admiral who made vital advances in computer science. Peter Salovey said in an E-mail to the College Community, "The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly, but John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a 'positive good' fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values," 

Countless residents  greeted the announcement by the Yale administrator and felt: "No longer will John C Calhoun’s name disgrace the city and the university.” Even his statues and portraits were removed from the university.
Grace Murray Hopper was a maverick computer scientist and like Calhoun, Hopper, who was posthumously awarded the presidential medal of freedom by Barack Obama in November, is a Yale alumnus. Also brought into  focus  in the wake of this historical name change of a college, a renewed attention to the name of the university itself ie, the name of the benefactor Elihu Yale who himself was a Slave Trader and Exporter in Madras, India while working for East India Company. Being greedy and grasping, he amassed a fortune beyond his means, cheating both his employers and the people of India, While serving as the Governor of Fort St. George, the EIC  officials were not happy with his wheeling and dealings under the table. So, he was removed from the covetous post and  packed off home in 1699 after some two decades of abuse of his powers and  insatiable excesses in India. Unfortunately it was done not before he became an avid  slave trader and exporter who decreed that every outbound ship from Madras would be packed with ten slaves.  
St.Mary's Church,Madras.drawn by J.W.Gantz,Vepery. 1841.credit:livestories.com
Above image: Gov. Yale's wedding with Catherine Hynmers, a widow took place here in 1680 at St. Mary's church, Madras (Chennai), Tamil Nadu; first wedding ever registered at this old English Church which is within Ft. St. George................
William Wilberforce . Quote Master

Above image:  William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833), an English politician of repute was  known as the leader of the movement to stop the slave trade. Hailing from  Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780, eventually becoming a Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). Through his sustained efforts, debates and wide discussion in the House of Commons, etc.,  the House of Lords passed the Slavery Abolition Act, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire from August 1834.....................

The 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica  is in all praise of  Calhoun (former US vice President) for his 'just and kind' treatment of slaves and the 'stainless integrity' of his character. On the other hand  Gov. Elihu Yale  was shown in bad light. He had the  slaves severely punished and flogged when protested or made mistakes while at work. He was so mean,  ruthless and arrogant that  once at Ft. David, Cuddalore, TN he had a stable boy  hanged to death.  Reason:  Being childish he stole a horse from his stable. Is it not  'fundamentally wrong that a great institution is carrying the name of YALE who had scant respect for other fellow human beings and who expanded his wealth  dishonestly? Yale, a devil in Slaves' workshop.

Roger Kimball, editor and publisher of the New Criterion, in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, wrote how Calhoun was just an "amateur" when compared to Elihu.

 "In the great racism sweepstakes, John Calhoun was an amateur. Far more egregious was Elihu Yale, the philanthropist whose benefactions helped found the University. As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. I propose that the committee on renaming table the issue of Calhoun College and concentrate on the far more flagrant name 'Yale'," he wrote. He implied in the realm of slavery, John Calhoun was a kid, whereas Yale was a giant with vast experience and international connection. When it comes to immorality and peevishness, Yale was far ahead of Calhoun.

The 'art exhibit' associated with the conference on slavery and British culture in the eighteenth century held in the recent past at Yale was an interesting one. The painting shows Yale in different perspective.  Another portrait of Yale with  a collared slave ( a “servant”) is not part of the exhibit and is in the art gallery.The collar around the neck of the servant is in bad taste; Is he an animal?  This  portrait is  malevolent and  spiteful  and displaying  it in a main hall gives us a chance to revisit the unsavory,  controversial and entangled history of slavery  of dark eras and the associated violence and humiliation.

In his well-researched book Ebony & Ivy published  recently,  author Craig discusses  that Yale is not alone in respect of links with slavery. Almost all  of early America’s leading universities, both north and south, grew up unashamedly  promoting and profiting  from slavery, racism, and colonialism. The forefathers forgot the preaching of Jesus Christ and his Gospel of Love and did everything against the norms of human decency and exploited other weak humans for improving their wealth and retaining social hierarchy.

Tit-bits:
01. Yale gifted the school books, textiles and a portrait of King George I which were then sold in Boston for £800. It was a huge sum in those days.  This money was used  in the construction of the Yale college. Elihu’s gift was "the largest private contribution made to the college for the next century"

02. The Yale University was earlier known as Collegiate School at Saybrook, and in 1713, Elihu had made his first donation to the institution in the form of 32 books.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/feb/11/yale-university-rename-calhoun-college 

https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/astounding-tale-slavery-and-deceit-yale-universitys-madras-connection-57228 

https://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2014/11/yale-and-clive-married-here-stmarys.html

http://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2018/07/elihu-yale-slave-trader-and-exporter.html