Students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison sought to reignite conflict over the school's famed statue of Abraham Lincoln this month.
Lincoln, perched atop Bascom Hill, has drawn protests from racial justice activists in recent years. In 2016, the statue was draped in a black tarp over the university's alleged perpetuation of white supremacy and racism. One year earlier, a group discussed removing the statue but dismissed that idea for being too extreme.
Now, the sixteenth commander in chief is facing fire from "Wunk Sheek," an indigenous student group on campus.
On Columbus Day, which is recognized as Indigenous Peoples Day in the city of Madison, the organization staged a "die-in" around the statue to call attention to Lincoln's 1862 ordered execution of 38 Dakota men. Activists hung a sign around Lincoln's neck that said "#DecolonizeOurCampus."
"Everyone thinks of Lincoln as the great, you know, freer of slaves, but let's be real: He owned slaves, and as natives, we want people to know that he ordered the execution of native men," one student leader of the protest, who is hopefully not majoring in history, told the Daily Cardinal. "Just to have him here at the top of Bascom is just really belittling."
Lincoln, of course, did not own slaves, though even a failed Wisconsin state Supreme Court candidate made the same mistake last year.
Perhaps a sense of greater historical awareness would better serve these students' efforts to, you know, bring about a sense of greater historical awareness.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.