Banner on Columbia University library promotes female authors
Homer. Herodotus. Sophocles. Plato. Aristotle. Demosthenes. Cicero. Vergil.
Male. Male. Male. Male. Male. Male. Male. Male.
These are the author’s names chiseled into the stone facade of Columbia University’s Butler Library. In case it hasn’t become clear yet, every single one of them is a man.
For three decades, students at Columbia have been making bold statements about the lack of inclusivity the inscription communicates — and they’ve been doing it right on the building itself.
It all began on commencement day in 1989 when Laura Hotchkiss Brown and four friends unfurled a banner across the face of Butler Library. But almost immediately, it was removed by campus security.
The banner would appear later in the fall of the same year, and then again for a single day in 1994 to commemorate Women’s History Month.
This week, a new banner for the 21st century has been stretched across the face of Butler Library.