When To Stop Honoring A Questionable Historical Figure?

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tags: Confederate Monuments

Thumbnail Image -  Cheyenne Arapaho Hall on the CU Boulder Campus was originally named Nichols Hall.

It's not just statues of Confederate leaders that lead to debates over controversial figures in U.S. history.

Buildings on college campuses across the country bear the names of men who were members of the Ku Klux Klan, were openly racist or, in Colorado's case, participated in the killing of American Indians.

State Historian and University of Colorado Boulder history professor Patty Limerick tells Colorado Matters about a debate several decades ago over Nichols Hall, a college dorm on the Boulder campus.

David Nichols was a Boulder County Sheriff, and later Speaker of the House in Colorado's Territorial Legislature, who was credited with getting matching funds to build the university. But Nichols also participated in the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre where at least 150 American Indians — mostly women and children — were slaughtered. Gov. John Hickenlooper officially apologized for the massacre in 2014.

The dorm, named after Nichols in 1961, led to protests in the 1980's where students demanded the name be removed. Limerick later wrote about the controversy in 1987, calling into question Nichols' role in helping to establish the Boulder campus. ...

Limerick is concerned that removing controversial historical monuments and renaming buildings could have the effect of erasing shameful aspects of  U.S. history that should be understood and debated.

"The opportunity is vast for us to think about our past, our present, and the connection between those — and how we ourselves are living," Limerick said. ...

Read entire article at CPR

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