[UC] Berkeley Law’s main classroom building is named Boalt Hall after John Henry Boalt, whose widow, Elizabeth Josselyn, made a substantial donation to erect a building in memory of her husband, dedicated in 1911.
In 1877, Boalt delivered an influential address, “The Chinese Question,” at the Berkeley Club. He argued that never before in history have two non-assimilating races lived in harmony unless one enslaved the other. That the Chinese could never assimilate was self-evident to Boalt: Americans look at the Chinese with “an unconquerable repulsion which it seems to me must ever prevent any intimate association or miscegenation of the races.” Boalt invoked the alleged criminality, intellectual differences, cruelty and inhumanity of the Chinese, and mused it would be better to “exterminate” a strongly dissimilar race than assimilate it.
Boalt’s virulently racist “The Chinese Question” was included in an official report of the state of California, thousands of copies of which were distributed to influence newspapers and elected officials throughout the land. In 1882, largely as a result of California’s lobbying, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first federal law banning a group of immigrants solely on the basis of race or nationality.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
"The case for renaming [Berkley law school's] Boalt Hall"
SFC, from 2017: