Change the Name of Yale University to Hale University

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Joseph Woods Sr
Joseph Woods Sr signed this petition

When Elihu Yale began working for the slave-trading East India Company at their slave trading outpost in Madras, India he had only £10 to his name. But years later he had earned enough money from the slave trade to fund the building of the original Yale College, which is named in his honor. 

Changing the name of the college would only be a symbolic first step, but the alternative of having a fully accredited American university named after a slave trader is unacceptable. 

Elihu Yale:

In the 1680s, when Yale served on the governing council at Fort St. George on the Madras coast, a devastating famine led to an uptick in the local slave trade. As more and more bodies became available on the open market, Yale and other company officials took advantage of the labor surplus, buying hundreds of slaves and shipping them to the English colony on Saint Helena. Yale participated in a meeting that ordered a minimum of ten slaves sent on every outbound European ship. In just one month in 1687, Fort St. George exported at least 665 individuals. As governor and president of the Madras settlement, Yale enforced the ten-slaves-per-vessel rule. On two separate occasions, he sentenced “black Criminalls” accused of burglary to suffer whipping, branding, and foreign enslavement.  Although he probably did not own any of these people – the majority were held as the property of the East India Company – he certainly profited both directly and indirectly from their sale.

A portrait of Elihu Yale being waited upon by a collared slave (euphemized as a “page” in the original listing):

From the University: "Nothing is known about the boy on the right, who has just finished pouring Madeira (a sweet, fortified wine) into the glasses on the table. His fine red and grey livery (or uniform) identifies him as a servant, and the silver collar and padlock around his neck indicate that he is enslaved. At the table sit Elihu Yale (center)..."


Nathan Hale:

"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

This elegant statement, doubtless paraphrased from Addison's popular play, Cato, is the quotation best remembered from the execution of Nathan Hale. He must have been telling the British that his cause still had great merit and that someone like himself — intelligent, educated and decent — was willing to die for it without regret. It should be put in prospective that the "cause" was in bad shape in September 1776. The much-defeated and demoralized rebel army had been chased into upper Manhattan, ripe for total destruction by the vastly superior British forces. Its soldiers were deserting in droves now — sometimes whole companies at once — and the end seemed only a matter of time. But Hale told the British straight — standing on the gallows — that his "country" was still worthwhile and worth dying for. The enemy was duly impressed, seeing that most of them considered the rebels to be a dirty, rag-tag bunch of contentious rabble.

Nathan Hale graduated from Yale College with first-class honors in 1773 at age 18 and became a teacher, first in East Haddam and later in New London.  Although Yale was not yet accredited at this time, it was nonetheless considered to provide a respectable education.


The Elihu Yale Pub in the UK

The Elihu Yale pub in Wrexham, North Wales, could be renamed due to Yale's position in the East India Company, who were involved with the East African and Indian Ocean slave trade.

This comes after more than 600 people have signed an online petition, in support the Black Lives Movement, calling for the pub to be renamed. 


'We will look into these allegations, which are very concerning. Wetherspoon is certainly willing to consider a change of name.' 

The online petition also said until it was taken down recently, the pub sign depicted Yale with 'a black slave chained next to him'.

The sign was removed and altered in 2017 after the word 'racist' was scrawled across it.

Note that the sign described above is from a painting displayed at Yale UNiversity to this day.