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A 42-ton boulder believed to be two billion years old was removed Friday from the University of Wisconsin main campus after the school’s Black Student Union leadership determined the rock was a racist symbol due to a 1925 newspaper headline.
Chamberlin Rock, named after a former university president, was lifted from its resting spot and moved to university land southeast of Madison where it will live out its life. The 1925 headline in the Wisconsin State Journal, ‘Dig up N—erhead,’ is believed to be the only time the rock was mentioned by that name, historians say.
But the Black Student Union said that was one too many mentions and the rock will always have a racist history. They said it was time for the boulder to go and $50,000 was raised through private donations to do just that.
“This moment is about the students, past and present, that relentlessly advocated for the removal of this racist monument,” Juliana Bennett, a senior and a campus representative on the Madison City Council, told the Associated Press. “Now is a moment for all of us BIPOC students to breathe a sigh of relief, to be proud of our endurance, and to begin healing.”
In November, students told a campus planning committee that the rock was a “daily reminder of the injustices, past and present, that students of color face on campus.”
The rock is said to have been carried by glaciers from near Canada and dropped on land that would eventually become the University of Wisconsin campus. Ice receded 12,000 years ago and BOOM, there’s a massive rock.
“I see this as offering the next generation of students something to build off of,” said UW–Madison senior Nalah McWhorter, who led the fight to remove the rock. “We got this project going, and now the next round of students can continue to work on the other demands and come up with other ideas. We hope this movement and this momentum carries on.”
And just like that, onto the next demand.
WATCH: Crews begin to remove the Chamberlin Rock from UW-Madison's campus. https://bit.ly/2VybRvX
Posted by WKOW 27 on Friday, August 6, 2021