Case in point: someone on Facebook, I think, linked to an article that they agreed with (I assume) about changing a street name here in Cincinnati. Why? T'was named after a horrible segregationist racist Vice President!!!! The horror!
Original letter to the editor: It's time to dump Calhoun Street
Calhoun Street was named after John C. Calhoun, a two-time vice president of the United States (under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson), a U.S. senator from South Carolina, and a staunch supporter of slavery and states' rights. He is credited by many with having started the Civil War, even though he died in 1850.
Your say: Submit a letter to the editor
I have wondered how a major city in a free state came to name a street after such a man, who had zero local ties. Quick searches of Google reveal that in 1828, a city in Illinois changed its name from Calhoun to Springfield; a bike shop in Minnesota is changing its name from Calhoun Bikes and op-eds are being published in the Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) suggesting that it rename its Calhoun Street.
The realignment of Taft Road and Calhoun Street in the middle of the last century has presented a great opportunity to fairly easily drop "Calhoun" in favor of native son, President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft.
As an added bonus, it would be a great opportunity to more publicly feature the statue of Taft that now stands outside the University of Cincinnati's College of Law at the current corner of Calhoun and Clifton Avenue.
The time to do this is now.
Jack Martin, Clifton Heights
I, ever trusting my instincts, thought "BS' and tried in vain to locate some research online that either corroborated or refuted the claim. The comments were, of course, hilarious and frustratingly stupid, but there was some back and forth about who the namesake actually was.
Then, when attempting another web search for truth, I found that the paper finally, after the fact was informed that the writer WAS WRONG!
Editor's note, 9:20 a.m. Monday: Kevin Grace, head of archives and rare books at the University of Cincinnati, says the letter writer is incorrect: "There's no historical evidence at all for it being named for John C. Calhoun. There is some evidence that it was named for a Revolutionary War pensioner named Calhoun who was allocated a parcel of land that abutted the McMillan subdivison." Military veterans were often given the opportunity to buy land, Grace said. The street on the south border of the UC campus was called Calhoun before John C. Calhoun came into prominence, he said.
I was not shocked, after all, why would the have place a few phone calls to actual historians to be sure BEFORE they published the editorial letter, right? Crazy! Actually perform journalism? Ha!