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42-Ton Boulder Seen as a 'Symbol of Racism' Removed

UW-Madison students had lobbied for Chamberlin Rock's ouster
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2021 4:00 AM CDT
Updated Aug 10, 2021 6:52 AM CDT
42-Ton Boulder Seen as a 'Symbol of Racism' Removed
Crews work to remove Chamberlin Rock from Observatory Hill on UW-Madison campus in Madison, Wis., Friday, Aug. 6, 2021.   (Kayla Wolf/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

(Newser) – The 42-ton boulder seen as a "symbol of racism," per CNN, has been removed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Chamberlin Rock was removed by a crew using a large crane over a matter of hours Friday, and is being moved to university-owned land elsewhere, off-campus. The plaque honoring Thomas Chamberlin, the geologist and former university president for whom the rock was named, was removed but will be placed in another area. As Fox News reports, the rock used to be referred to by a nickname that included the n-word, because that's how large, dark rocks were sometimes described in the 1920s.

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The Wisconsin Black Student Union started calling for the rock's removal last summer, and Native American student organization Wunk Sheek partnered with the union on the effort. The rock, a rare, pre-Cambrian era glacial erratic that could be more than two billion years old, was situated on ancestral Ho-Chunk land, within the area of a Native American burial mound though not atop a burial site. Glaciers are believed to have carried the rock from Canada to Wisconsin. Private donations covered the $50,000 cost of removal. Student groups also wanted an Abraham Lincoln statue removed from campus, but that request has so far been denied. (Read more University of Wisconsin-Madison stories.)

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