The Harvard Law School Seal: Apparently They Are No Longer Teaching Critical Thinking At Harvard Law School

H Law SchoolSee that seal to the left? Apparently that is a racist symbol that must be banned. At least that’s the conclusion a group of Harvard Law School students have come to, thus compelling my conclusion that either Harvard Law School is no longer a trustworthy institution for training young minds in relentlessly logical analysis as the practice of law at 400 bucks an hour requires, or that it is admitting too many students so indoctrinated in mindless progressive cant that they are beyond help.

These young adults need to skip the law and go straight to community organizing.

I’m sure all of you saw the bushels of wheat in the Harvard Law School seal and immediately recoiled in disgust and horror. No? That’s because need a masters in Obscure Harvard History to understand what these fanatics are complaining about:

From the Harvard Crimson:

A new student movement at Harvard Law School is organizing to change the seal at the school, which the students argue represents and endorses a slaveholding legacy. The seal is the coat of arms of the family of Isaac Royall Jr., a slaveholder who endowed the first professorship of law at Harvard.

They have launched a Facebook page and are now in the process of further organizing. They are drafting a letter to send to the Dean of the Law School Martha L. Minow with their positions, according to Mawuse H. Vormawor, a Law School student and organizer of the effort. Students involved in the effort argued that imagery from a slaveholding era has no place at today’s Harvard Law School.

“These symbols set the tone for the rest of the school and the fact that we hold up the Harvard crest as something to be proud of when it represents something so ugly is a profound disappointment and should be a source of shame for the whole school,” said Alexander J. Clayborne, one of the Law students involved.

Vormawor pointed to the research and scholarship of visiting Law School professor Daniel R. Coquillette, who recently published a book about the first century of Harvard Law School, as inspiration for the movement. In the book, Coquillette details the relationship between the Royall family’s slaveholding and the endowment of the Law School.

Thus proceeds the process of airbrushing history, withdrawing credit that has been justly  earned, and judging past figures  by the standards of today. This is a particularly silly example, as the design of the seal is likely to be meaningless to 99% of Harvard law students, not to mention 99.99999% of everyone else.

It’s not an ugly seal. It’s just a boring seal. I don’t recall noticing it and I was on the Harvard campus a lot,  since my mother worked there. I guess the seal was on the application I filled out when I applied to the law school (I was rejected—twice). Maybe the school should include a little explanation on its letterhead about how the bushels might as well be a drawing of Simon Legree.

Harvard Law School might not exist were it not for Isaac Royall Jr., since his bequest was used to establish it. Any institution must always recognize debts to its founders: the ethical principles are loyalty and gratitude. Those who attend allegedly intellectual institutions should also be able to figure out that it isn’t 1719 (when Royall was born), and that when he endowed the law professorship, his belief that blacks were inferior to whites was nearly universal among whites, in the Colonies and everywhere else.

Even Professor Coquillette, who calls Royall “a coward, and a brutal slaveholder,” believes that the student protest is misguided.

“As a historian…you just deal with the fact that this guy founded the school and tell the truth about it,” he said. “To change things is to act like [they] didn’t happen, and that’s a mistake.”

That is the prevailing trend, however. I received criticism in July when  I wrote about the significance of taking away Bill Cosby’s bust in Disney World and trying to remove the names of Confederate generals from schools  in this post, especially the part where I suggested that the trend, if unchecked, would lead directly to the Jefferson Memorial. I concluded the post writing:

There is no stop to this slippery slope, for the political correctness mob will never stop. Stop airbrushing your history, your heroes, your geniuses and your trailblazers, America.  It is wrong—dishonest, incompetent, unfair, irresponsible, destructive….and so, so short-sighted and stupid...Because this isn’t just airbrushing. It is bulldozing. And the culture, history and perspective it will leave the nation with will be flat, bleak, and a lie.

So I now ask those critics, do you still think it is so unimaginable that a generation of American leaders in the near future, educated in the most prestigious of our universities, won’t insist that Thomas Jefferson’s face on Mount Rushmore and his prominent memorial on the Potomac are both a “source of shame” for the whole nation?

24 thoughts on “The Harvard Law School Seal: Apparently They Are No Longer Teaching Critical Thinking At Harvard Law School

  1. The founder of Sea Shepherd said that it was all right to be a terrorist, as long as you won, because then you get to write the history. I think this is just an example of the hard left taking winning and erasing all that came before.

  2. The students are hypocrites.
    They should not be lobbying to change the seal. They should be lobbying to shut the school down.

  3. Most of the comments are in opposition, so that is something to consider.

    College students nationwide could use a micro-aggression neutralizing suppository.

    What’s next? Storm DC and sledgehammer down the Lincoln Memorial because he argued to Frederick Douglas ‘blacks are inferior to whites, should never be allowed to vote or hold public office or marry outside their race’…

    To the actual adults watching stuff like this – it becomes more apparent daily one’s children would stand a better chance at ‘getting an education’ if simply locked in a library 4 years – compared to what’s passing for ‘higher education’ in this nation currently…

  4. Jefferson? What about Washington? He had over 200 slaves on his property at one time. Isn’t it an absolute outrage that Barack Obama must be president in a city named after a slaveholder? Isn’t it unfair that black citizens must send their taxes to such a city, obviously keeping slavery symbolically alive? What about the poor people in the State of Washington? That clearly needs to be rectified as well.

    We need to rewrite the history books and attribute all actions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to John Adams. Everything attributed to James Madison, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson shall be attributed to the second president, John Quincy Adams.

    It is only common sense history reform. No justice, no peace.

  5. Wheat sheafs have long symbolized plenty or industry, they were used in coats of armes in the middle ages, long before Southern plantations existed. The Harvard seal was very much founded under the branding of English heraldric authority even though there is no Herald here. Here we use trademarks and copyright. Complain to get rid of the lions on the English arms while you’re at it, lions should not be associated t=with strength and leadership.

    When wheat was harvested by hand, that was how it was dried in every country, not just the American South. If we’re going to stop doing everything that slaveowners did because it must be so bad, let’s go whole hog and stop mowing and landscaping our yards, stop having babies, and stop having parties, too. You can’t run the world on some reversed opinion of ‘what would (slavers) do.’ This is just a Bizarro woo-woo way to see the SHIELD of Harvard branding. These people need to do something useful like work in a soup kitchen, work in a low income day care, or help an elderly neighbor with their snow.

    • I’m not aware of much wheat ever having been grown south of the Mason-Dixon line. I think wheat was a pretty much subsistence crop to the extent it was grown along the east coast. Wasn’t cotton the wonderous cash crop that drove the slave trade and the mills in wonderful, enlightened, gun controlled Manchester and Leeds? I suspect this guy just took the sheaves off someone else’s heraldic shield. Maybe he should have put a nice cluster of full blown cotton balls on there.

      • Wasn’t cotton the wonderous cash crop that drove the slave trade and the mills in wonderful, enlightened, gun controlled Manchester and Leeds?

        Not in the eighteenth century. Then, slavery was fuelled by tobacco in the North American mainland colonies and by sugar in the West Indies and South America.

        By the way, cotton was used more in Manchester and wool in Leeds, largely for climatic reasons that affected processing the materials (temperature and humidity matter).

  6. Good post, Jack. I once heard every college at Yale was named after a slave owner, and even a slave trader or two.

    A minor note. I think those are sheaves of wheat (plural of ”sheaf’). They’re certainly not bushels? A bushel is a container of regulated dimensions, into which threshed wheat might be deposited before it was taken to a mill.

      • Nah. They are just sheaves which would be threshed at which point the wheat kernels would be sold or taken to the miller in bushels or maybe by the pound in sacks and the straw would be sold in bales or just hauled into the barn or stacked outside to have needles inserted into them.

  7. “There is no stop to this slippery slope, for the political correctness mob will never stop.”

    They can’t stop. Political correctness is how they make a living. They are unfit to do anything else. They will destroy our history and our culture and stand on the ruins and blame – – – someone else.

  8. Well then, yes: let’s demolish the Washington (slaveholder) Monument, the Jefferson (slaveholder) Memorial, the FDR (didn’t come to the aid of the European Jews soon enough) Memorial, and erase from history anyone — who regardless of their contributions, were, sadly, men of their time but who now besmirch our 21st century political correctness.

    If we do go down that road, e.g., slaveholders (as only one example — should Martin Luther King be ignored because he was a known philanderer?) are not worthy of historic significance, then we are in fact on a slippery slope. Pick your sin: I would wager that every single American leader of positive consequence has some part of his behavior/history/personality that today’s PC freaks would find consequential.

    As P.G. Wodehouse would say: “What ho, Hillary!”

  9. There are some people on whom an education, no matter how good, is wasted. When you get to a point that your opinion is more important than fact then you are lost.

  10. Mawuse H. Vornamor?? He sounds like an instructor at Hogwarts! Just where does this guy get off by making outrageous demands like this? Personally, I’ve seen more than enough of student activists pushing on cowardly or likewise radical college faculty in order to turn their school into a den of two-bit Bolshevism, corrupting those campuses into something completely divorced from what they were founded to be; seats of higher learning and open inquiry to the benefit of a free society. Almost needless to say, these leftists want them to be nothing of the sort, as they reject a free nation to begin with. And, as long as faculty, regents and alumni allow this ruination to continue, it will. The Ivy League is a disgrace to education- likely irreversible in their case.

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