Noting that many buildings on campus are named after white men of European origin, Farley argues that “[a]s the University celebrates both diversity and its bicentennial, consideration might be given to commemorating women, minorities and those who promoted equitable opportunities.”
Farley details a dozen U-M leaders, most of them alumni, who might be recognized, including:
- Amanda Sanford, the first female graduate of the medical school;
- Sarah Wertman, the first woman in the U.S. “to both earn a legal degree and be admitted to the bar in Michigan”;
- Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who signed Jackie Robinson in 1947, breaking the color barrier in baseball;
- Jesse Owens, who became an African-American Olympic hero in Berlin in 1936; and
- Raoul Wallenberg, a 1930s student who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.
Reynolds Farley is the Dudley Duncan Professor Emeritus of Sociology and a research scientist at the Population Studies Center. Farley teaches the Ford School's popular "History and Future of Detroit" class each semester.