Dining Hall at Yale’s Calhoun Residential College Named for an African American

ThompsonCalhoun Residential College at Yale University has been in the news a great deal lately. The college was established in 1932 in honor of John C. Calhoun, who graduated from Yale University in 1804. He went on to become vice president of the United States, serving under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. A native of South Carolina, Calhoun was a major defender of the institution of slavery.

In February 2016, Yale University announced that it was removing a portrait of Calhoun that was displayed over the fireplace in the dining hall in the residential college. In April, the university announced that is was retaining the name of Calhoun Residential College. In June, a worker used a broom handle to break a stained-glass window in the dining hall of the college that depicted slaves carrying cotton on their heads.

Now the university has announced that the dining hall at Calhoun Residential College will be renamed to honor Roosevelt L. Thompson. A resident of Calhoun College, Thompson was killed in an automobile accident during his senior year at Yale, after he had been selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University.

A documentary film on Roosevelt Thompson was produced by PBS. A trailer for that documentary can be viewed below.

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