I wholeheartedly support Ruth Gainer’s recent letter to The Enterprise in which she argued for renaming Agassiz Road in Woods Hole.
I recognize the contributions that Dr. Agassiz made to the study of glaciers and to his work with fossils. However, the last part of his career was devoted to propagating his racist theories. His work contributed to the resurgence of the white supremacy movement of the 1870s and inspired the former slave owners to renew their subjugation of the newly freed people.
The issue now is how do we correct errors of the past. For a long time, white people sympathetic to the cause of Black Lives Matter have been voicing approval of the movement but doing nothing. The recent outpouring of Black and white people working together has been a long overdue concrete step. We must show our support through real change. Agassiz Road honors a white supremacist.
Instead, we should now honor E.E. Just, an African-American scientist who worked at MBL and was mistreated during the early part of the 20th century. Giving the road his name will be a meaningful action in celebration of diversity at MBL and justice in our community.
Esther E. Rowland