President Trump is taking a lot of heat for worrying that once cities remove Confederate statues the next ones in danger will be George Washington or Thomas Jefferson because they were slave owners. Well, it seems as if his fear is coming true.
A Chicago pastor is seeking the removal of a statue of the nation’s first president at the entrance to Washington Park. But in typical fashion, it doesn’t stop there, as CBS Chicago reports:
Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, said he wants the statue gone, and he wants George Washington’s name removed from the park, because even though he fought for freedom in America, he isn’t a hero for blacks.
“When I see that, I see a person who fought for the liberties, and I see people that fought for the justice and freedom of white America, because at that moment, we were still chattel slavery, and was three-fifths of humans,” Dukes said. “Some people out here ask me, say ‘Well, you know, he taught his slaves to read.’ That’s almost sad; the equivalent of someone who kidnaps you, that you gave them something to eat.”
And how about this for an idea, according to the bishop: Don’t change the name of Washington Park, but just the Washington it’s named after. Dukes suggested former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.
Nearby is Jackson Park, named after President Andrew Jackson. Again, Dukes suggests a different Jackson could be honored at the park, maybe Rev. Jesse Jackson or Michael Jackson.
“I think [blacks] should be able to identify and decide who we declare heroes in or communities, because we have to tell the stories to our children of who these persons are,” said Dukes. “In an African-American community, it’s a slap in the face and it’s a disgrace for them to honor someone who was a slave owner.”
Dukes wrote a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel asking for his wishes to be considered:
I am feeling ambivalent that I would have to walk my child, attend a parade or enjoy a game of softball in a park that commemorates the memory of a slave owner. Therefore, I call on the immediate removal of President George Washington and President Andrew Jackson names from the parks located on the southeast side of Chicago. They should not have the distinct honor of being held as heroes when they actively participated in the slave trade.
City officials welcome any request to change the name of a park, but it must be voting on after a 45-day public comment period and the mayor’s office didn’t say whether or not they will consider Dukes’ proposal.
As Mic.com noted, there have been at least 35 instances so far in 2017 from across the country where Confederate statues have been removed or requested to be removed. Overnight on Wednesday, the city of Baltimore quietly removed four statues in the early morning hours with no incident. On Wednesday in San Diego, a plaque that memorialized Jefferson Davis was removed in Horton Park. As we watched on Monday, fascists tore down a Confederate monument in Durham, North Carolina. So, sure, why stop there? The Founding Fathers must go!