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Well, They Went and Done It
(Bacon’s Rebellion) – Washington & Lee has set a new precedent in the culture wars — it has cancelled a horse. Robert E. Lee’s horse Traveller, to be precise. A plaque dedicated to the memory of the renowned steed was removed yesterday in a larger purge of references to its rider, who salvaged the university from extinction after the Civil War. (See an enumeration of purge actions here.)
The zeal of W&L President William C. Dudley and his minions has no limits in their campaign to transform W&L from an elite liberal arts university build upon Southern traditions into an elite liberal arts bastion of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. No detail is too small to be expunged. Dudley’s notion of inclusion and belonging, it appears, does not extend to the thousands of alumni who have demonstrated lifetime commitments to the university and its traditions, nor to the man who stood for reconciliation between North and South after the nation’s bloodiest war.
The closest historical analogy I can think of is with the French revolutionaries who marked their new era by proclaiming 1792 as year 1 of the new republic, sweeping away all vestiges of the ancien regime. We all know how that turned out. Well, maybe we don’t. Washington & Lee teaches as much African and African-American history as European history…