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A Worker Broke a Window at Yale and Shed Light on History

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tags: slavery, Yale



According to the broken-windows theory of social disorder, it takes just one shattered pane of glass to unleash a cascade of chaos in a neighborhood. The authorities might fear this, but for others, a little chaos can occasionally be liberating.

Such an occasion arrived for Corey Menafee one morning in June on the Yale University campus, when the custodial worker drove a broomstick through a small stained-glass window that depicted an eerily bucolic scene of enslaved blacks carrying bales of cotton.

The vestige of American slavery had long gone politely ignored amid the polished Oxonian interiors of the rarefied university (disclosure: The author is a Yale alumna). But that morning, Menafee recalls matter-of-factly, “I just got tired of seeing that image.” During a break from his shift in the Calhoun College residence dining hall (then mostly empty because of summer vacation) he says, “I don’t know, something inside me is like, that thing has to come down.”

Read entire article at The Nation


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