Donor's Views on Race Spark Outcry Over Parkland





AUBURN, Calif. -- This town in the Sierra Nevada foothills accepted the gift of a 28-acre plot from the estate of Nobel laureate William B. Shockley in March. The mostly forested land was to become a community park named after the famous physicist -- co-inventor of the transistor -- and his late wife.

Then the local newspaper pointed out that Mr. Shockley, who died in 1989, was a proponent of eugenics, a widely discredited movement most prominent in the 1920s and '30s that held that intelligence was racially linked -- and that called for sterilizing some Americans who were deemed socially and intellectually unfit.

Community activists and civil-rights organizations are criticizing Auburn's leaders for accepting the gift's terms that the park carry the Shockley name, and they are demanding that the town keep Mr. Shockley's name off the park or give the land back. "I cannot fathom how officials in Auburn would have the gall to name an area park after a white supremacist and think that would be readily accepted by residents," said Barry Broad, chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council in Sacramento.



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