Push to Rename Lake Calhoun Stalls

KARE 11 News (Minneapolis), June 14, 2011

The one man crusade to re-name the gem of the Minneapolis chain of lakes, Lake Calhoun, just hit a speed bump.

Several weeks ago John Winters made his case to the Minneapolis Parks Board to re-name Calhoun after learning its name sake was the 19th century South Carolina politician, John C. Calhoun.

Calhoun was a U.S. Senator, Vice President, Secretary of War and outspoken advocate for maintaining slavery in the United States.

“He was the primo bigot. Not a bigot, the number one promoter of slavery,” Winters said Monday.

Winters learned Monday changing the Lake’s name doesn’t lie within the authority of the Minneapolis Parks Board.

{snip}

He says he just can’t sit with the lake having Calhoun as its namesake.

“He was one of the great leaders of the 19th century and he led the wrong way. Everything he did at some point in his life revolved around the preservation of slavery,” Winters said.

{snip}

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  • Question Diversity

    This is one instance where I am glad for Americans’ general insouciance toward and ignorance about history. As far as most Minnesotans know, “Lake Calhoun” might have been named for University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun.

  • ghw

    Slavery, slavery! Must EVERYTHING nowadays revolve around slavery? What is this unquenchable obsession? Slavery ended a century and a half ago. This is all getting so insane!

    John Calhoun was indeed one of the great American leaders and patriots of the 19th century. He was, in fact, the one responsible for fixing the has northern border of the United States… thus he has great relevance to the state of Minnesota, or much of Minnesota would not be American territory today.

  • Martin L. Kuhn Jr.

    After Mr. Winters gets them to change the name of the lake, maybe he can do something about that park on Nicollet Avenue and East 42nd Street that is named after a plagiarizing, whore-mongering communist.

  • Anonymous

    Long live Lake Calhoun. Do not change the name.

  • Wordy Anonymous

    John Calhoun was indeed one of the great American leaders and patriots of the 19th century

    –ghw

    Declaring White national heroes, patriots and leaders as “racists” and demanding that their names be expunged from streets, lakes and schools is a strong symptom of white dispossession.

    Expect a lot more renaming as Whites decline in number.

    When the “majority” took over in South Africa, the first targets were our national symbols.

  • Antidote

    I’ve been there; I’ve rowed on Lake Calhoun. I urge the people of Minneapolis not to go down that path. It is exactly like the Confederate battle flag struggle… more and more symbols will be hauled down until even the Stars and Stripes will be deemed racist. Don’t re-name the Lake….they will insist upon Lake Malcolm X or Lake Farrakhan. Please don’t do it. They will never be satisfied.

  • Anonymous

    It is a mark of totalitarian regimes and despots to change the names, tear down statues, and rewrite history.

  • Madison Grant

    “Everything he did in his life revolved around.. slavery.”

    Total ignorance. Calhoun was a major intellect as well as a proponent of nullification, free trade and small gov’t.

    Before we rename this lake, let’s first rename Washington D.C., Jackson, Mississippi, the Jefferson Memorial and the Ulysses Grant Memorial.

    After all, these are some of the 12 presidents who, like Calhoun, owned slaves during some point in their lives.

  • olewhitelady

    Are we to become like ancient China and strive to wipe out all traces of regimes that came before? I’m sure if loony liberals had their way, all vestiges of the Confederacy and its citizens would be obliterated. Statues, battle monuments, gravestones, and memorabilia would all be outlawed unless they were exhibited in a negative light. And just how far should we take all this? Should men who gave any indication of “anti-feminism” be condemned? Well, that will take up the vast majority of men in the history of the world.

    I wonder if the anti-Lake Calhoun person would also like the name of our capital changed. Washington did own slaves, after all.

  • GreatNorthWoods

    Poster #1 has it Right.

    To those whites living in Minnesota and for that matter, anywhere north of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers,they have no personal/emotional connection or care about the war, slavery, or the antebellum era.

    It just doesn’t strike a nerve with them and any disscussion about that time in history tends to be confined only whithin an academic and intellectual context.

    Don’t worry, the lakes name isn’t going to change. Whites up that way in a heavily white state just don’t care enough and can’t connect anyway.

    GNW

  • kgb

    “He was one of the great leaders of the 19th century and he led the wrong way. Everything he did at some point in his life revolved around the preservation of slavery,” Winters said.

    I don’t particularly admire slavers; they withheld labor from whites who could do it just as well as blacks so that they wouldn’t have to pay a decent wage. The promotion of slavery in America was detrimental to poor whites by excluding them from the workforce.

    He shouldn’t’ve promoted slavery; he should’ve promoted repatriation to Liberia.

  • Zach Sowers

    And what will the new name be, Lake Mugabe perhaps? Lake Trotsky?

  • Browser

    J.C. Calhoun (educated at Yale, btw) was involved with far more than defense of slavery. He served as U.S. senator, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Vice President.

    He was named in 1957 by a Senate Committee as one of the five greatest U.S. Senators, along with Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Robert La Follette, and Robert Taft.

    Incidentally, Southerners, particularly Virginians, played a significant role in early Minnesota.

    Interesingly, Calhoun was becoming disillusioned with party politics.

    “By 1847, he decided the Union was threatened by a totally corrupt party system. He believed that in their lust for office, patronage and spoils, politicians in the North pandered to the antislavery vote, especially during presidential campaigns, and politicians in the slave states sacrificed Southern rights in an effort to placate the Northern wings of their parties.”

    “He warned southern voters to expect forced emancipation of slaves in the near future, followed by their complete subjugation by an unholy alliance of unprincipled Northerners and blacks, and a South forever reduced to “disorder, anarchy, poverty, misery, and wretchedness.”

    “Southerners believed his warnings and read every news story from the North as further evidence of the planned destruction of the southern way of life. The climax was the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860, which led immediately to the secession of South Carolina, followed by six other cotton states. They formed the new Confederate States of America, which, in accord with Calhoun’s theory, did not have any political parties.”

    Well, was he wrong?

    “Calhoun was also honored by his alma mater, Yale University, which named one of its undergraduate residence halls “Calhoun College”. A sculpture of Calhoun appears on the exterior of Harkness Tower, a prominent campus landmark.”

    I wonder if that has been re-named yet?