Calhoun to King
I would like to see the name of my street changed from Calhoun St to King St.
Many of the streets neighboring us are named after Senators, Webster, Douglas, Hamilton, and Calhoun, for example. Other streets in this locale name famous generals, Fremont, Grant, and Lyon, for example. Calhoun doesn’t fit, and is not fitting to be so honored.
John C. Calhoun was the primary proponent of Nullification during the debate leading up to the Civil War—the idea that States may ignore Federal laws. His most famous, or in my view, infamous, speech was “Slavery a Positive Good.” His political philosophy is repugnant in my nostrils. Calhoun believed that no civilization exists without the subjugation of a working class. That taken as a whole, the Southern slave was better off than a Northern factory hand, in that the slave was cared for even in old age, while the factory hand was tossed aside to the poor house when working days were done. As a student of history it daily festers and affronts me. It is a constant reminder of an evil that blighted our land.
I would see it replaced by the hopes and vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. In contrast to Calhoun, King envisions a Nation united in freedom and equality, not “civilization” the domain of a privileged few at the top of the economic ladder.
As our Nation puts the blemish of slavery behind us, we should honor those that bring us hope and inspiration to be a greater Nation of freedom and equality for all, and shun those that would not.