Keep Calhoun Expressway’s name the same

The effort to rename Augusta’s John C. Calhoun Expressway is misguided.


Of course, a city, college or any other entity has the option to name or rename structures, but the city commissioners’ current attempt constitutes nothing less than the tendency of contemporary Americans to demonstrate how we “forget who we are,” and engage in what has become known as political correctness.

The advocates of political correctness want to corrupt history for temporary political gains more than they desire to keep or restore it, and their efforts are, sadly, a disease on the body politic. In fact, if fully and honestly considered, no name change is needed.

Augusta could join the many operatives of political correctness who have met with great success of late. With Orwellian irony, they succeeded in renaming a dorm named after Calhoun at Yale University; renaming a U.S. Navy ship named for a person who hated the Navy (Cesar Chavez); and have imposed “speech codes” (with the actual purpose of restricting speech) on many college campuses – as well as more destructive examples of assaulting First Amendment rights and redefining history. Even President Obama was not above the fray as demonstrated by his renaming of Mount McKinley.


The greatest threat to political correctness is an environment in which free and uninhibited discussion and disagreement can take place. In fact, diversity of thought is the opposite of political correctness, and is at the heart of a free society. The proponents of political correctness – and those who desire to rename Calhoun Expressway – stand on the side of censorship against free and open discussion.

Calhoun’s “legacy” is indeed complex and subject to debate. However, in denying Calhoun’s vital role in American political life, they have committed a great injustice to the rising generation of Americans. The untold story, now diminished even more by recent decisions, is Calhoun’s importance to American political thought and history.

While spending most of his public life in the U.S. Senate, he also was vice president under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson – and he served as secretary of state to John Tyler. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest senators ever, part of the “Great Triumvirate” with Henry Clay and Daniel Webster – and each supported the Fugitive Slave Act.


What the advocates of name change do not want you to know is that Calhoun not only was one of America’s greatest statesmen, but also one of its greatest thinkers. His two treatises on American politics – A Disquisition on Government and A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States (published after his death) – demonstrate his hope that America could avoid the pending conflict of the Civil War.

In Calhoun’s interpretation, America’s greatest hope lay in the interposing and amending power of the states, which was implicit in the Constitution. This alone could save the country by allowing for a greater diffusion of authority and undermining the cause of sectional conflict. Calhoun’s purpose was the preservation of the original balance of authority and the fortification of the American political system against the obstacles it faced.

Augusta’s commissioners may have good intentions, but Shakespeare warned that “men are men; the best sometimes forget.”

John C. Calhoun was imperfect, but he remains one of the greatest statesmen in American history. In the world of some commissioners, neither the past nor the future deserve our attention, and we are left only with the option of muddling through the present.

(The writers are, respectively, the dean of the School of Social Sciences at East Georgia State College; and a professor of history at Athens State University in Alabama.)

Dee STAFFORD 9 months ago
What a great and enlightening column. It is enlightening to those with the ability to understand and correctly interpret history.

Today's  "City Ink" is another super piece of work on this subject.

I wonder if the history professor from Paine college who started all of this is a true history professor or a spewer of Black Liberation Theology?

 I bet he maybe one of these  "let's have a conversation about race" and "we need unity" types while he has unnecessarily stirred up a hornets nest that will bring antagonism and dissension between the races.
Dee STAFFORD 9 months ago
Are the blacks like the history professor and the commissioners going to start protesting and changing  everything associated with their perceived savior Abe Lincoln when they find he was also a white supremacist? 

In the Fourth Debate with Stephen Douglas on September 18, 1856, Lincoln said:

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races--that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of (blacks), nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.  And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.  I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the (black) should be denied everything."

THAT folks are the words of a definite white supremacist.

The problem with people such as the professor and the commissioners is they are unable to place themselves in the time frame of historical events and they unfairly and ignorantly judge people and events of past centuries by the standards and mores of the 21st century.
Val White 9 months ago

A friend of mine who was a fireman and had occasion to be in many black persons' homes noticed pictures of Lincoln, BHO, and some with LBJ photos.

This goes to show how far the left has convinced the black population that democrats are their friends.

LBJ was very much the racist and only signed the Civil Rights Act after Republican congressmen shamed him into it. 

BHO has only made the black persons lives more hopeless by making more of them dependent on government, losing jobs which has made the unemployment rate of black youths skyrocket, and encouraging them to become anarchists, commit crimes against LEOs, and attack others which only serves to make them more unwelcome in society.

There are liberal black leaders who are rich and famous, but some of them have embedded the thoughts into others that going to school, getting a job, speaking and dressing properly and eventually becoming a successful business person is only "trying to be white". 

It's time to take off the blinders and ask yourselves some questions like - " how come it's okay for liberal/democrat black leaders to be rich and famous but they tell me I shouldn't be educated and successful?"

These comments are the exact reason why we need to change the name.
Val White 9 months ago

So white people are just supposed to sit back and let every dang bit of history change, every position be GIVEN to a person of color just because, and continue to put up with the hatred and accusations of racism.

How far do blacks want to go and how long should we keep our mouths shut and just put up with it.

CARL T SR MILLER 9 months ago
Subject: Now Calhoun's Replacement at Yale Under Fire White Female Navy Admiral

Calhoun College — which for decades and without incident paid homage to John C. Calhoun — was recently ordered by Yale University to revise its name to placate the demands of campus moral do-gooders. But the purging isn’t quite the victory some envisioned. As it turns out, Grace Hopper, the woman selected as Calhoun’s replacement, has yet another grievance group crying foul. The consternation this time is even more peculiar — Hopper, a female who rose to the impressive rank of Naval Admiral and greatly expanded the field of computer science, is considered a feminist paragon. But for the ever-evolving snowflakes of today, the color of her skin, ironically enough, creates a big problem.

In a Facebook response, The Yale Women’s Center began by voicing support. “However,” the dissenters continue, “we had hoped for a name change that acknowledged the years of activism by students of color and New Haven activists. We feel the decision to change the name from a white supremacist to a white woman, as amazing as she may be, is an act of whitewashing.” The group also complains “the decision to rename the college after another white person seems like an attempt to end this discussion on the history of white supremacy and its active and continued role in this institution and on our campus.”

HeatStreet reports on additional objections: “A PR person for the women’s center, Vicki Beizer, told the student newspaper that the administration let them down by ignoring names that would have ‘carried the dialogue further,’ and that ‘renaming the college after a white woman doesn’t put the cork in the bottle.’ Members of the organization also published an op-ed for the Daily to argue that ‘white femininity has often been used as a tool to enforce racist and colonialist structures,’ and that naming the college after Hopper was a ‘continuous perpetuation of white supremacy.’”

This is the problem with revisionist history and inculcating those who seek to erase or modify America’s heritage, and also with moral relativism, for that matter: Once you go down that path, there’s no knowing when to stop. There’s no question the U.S. had (and has) its problems, and slavery undoubtedly tops the list. But if the purveyors of political correctness are looking for icons who are pure and blameless, well, good luck with that. It’s a futile effort. Then again, their very definition of pure and blameless is grossly distorted. They think the only righteous path is to idolize someone who’s not white.


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