Yale Portrait Demeaning to Blacks Coming Down

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After years of complaints, Yale University is taking down a painting of Elihu Yale that shows the wealthy merchant being waited on by a black man with a silver collar around his neck - an unmistakable symbol of bondage.

Elihu Yale apparently did not own slaves but critics over the years have objected to the painting's racist overtones and the significant place it is displayed at the university named for him. The portrait hangs over an ornate fireplace in the Corporation Room in Woodbridge Hall, meeting place for the university's board of trustees.

The flap over the painting comes as some of the nation's oldest, most prestigious colleges confront a shameful side of their past. Important founding figures at Yale, Brown and other schools had ties to the slave trade, as did many of America's founding fathers. In 2001, several graduate students at Yale revealed that a majority of Yale's dorms were named after prominent people who owned slaves or at one time expressed pro-slavery views, including U.S. Vice President John Calhoun and inventor Samuel Morse.

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