History hit the reset button on Woodrow Wilson in 2020.
Ninety-six years after his death, the 13th president of Princeton University, 34th Governor of New Jersey and 28th President of the United States faced a reckoning with what New
Jersey’s 56th Governor, Phil Murphy, called an “uneven history as it relates to race.”
Wilson’s handling of race issues — U.S. Postal Service offices, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Treasury were segregated shortly after he took federal office in 1913 — spurred Princeton University to drop the name of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Wilson College; Monmouth University dropped Wilson’s name from one of their buildings.
Murphy acknowledged the irony of fighting systemic racism in the United States from behind Wilson’s desk; in June, he stopped using it.
Among the casualties of New Jersey’s new view of Wilson was George Helmy. When the governor gave up the Wilson desk, he took the one Helmy used.