A campaign for a Memorial Hall tribute to Harvard students who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War may finally be taking shape.
A Harvard graduate and a graduate student are joining a long-standing call by Plummer Professor of Christian Morals Peter J. Gomes and Pope Professor Latin Language and Literature Emeritus Mason Hammond '25 for some form of memorial to the 64 Harvard men who died wearing gray rather than blue.
With the planned $50 million renovation of Memorial Hall, Schuyler Hollingsworth '40 said he thought this might be a good time to add a memorial to Confederate soldiers somewhere in the hall, which contains a list of Harvard students who died fighting on the Union side.
After all, Hollingsworth said Memorial Church mentions Harvard graduates who died on the other side of both World War I and II--the former with a plaque, the latter with fine print next to their names on the wall.
But funding for Memorial Hall, built more than 125 years ago, came from a Harvard alumnus who specified that only the names of the Union dead should go on the wall.
Hollingsworth, a former recording secretary of the University, said he first became interested in the matter when he served as executive director of the Harvard College Fund.
A few years ago, Hollingsworth started a Civil War fund for all Harvard graduates who died in the war. "I thought it would stimulate thought," he said. "A little over $15,000 has come in."
He has written to President Neil L. Rudenstine and to the Harvard Alumni Association about the issue, he said. Hollingsworth said he thinks the association's executive council is considering the matter.
"I don't think this is in any way a slight to anyone and I hope it wouldn't be considered as such," said Hollingsworth.
C. Denver Mullican, a Kennedy School student who has become involved in the effort, said he thinks the exclusion of Confederates cannot be justified if those who served the Kaiser and the Nazis are receiving commemoration.
"This is how Harvard treats people who use poison gas. This is how Harvard treats people who serve under Nazis," says Mullican. "Yet [the actions] of the Confederate soldiers are deemed by Harvard to be so heinous that they are excluded from University memory forever."