Opportunistic wave riding
Gee, who could’ve seen this coming?
A Chicago Pastor is demanding George Washington’s name be removed from a city park because Washington was a slave owner. He’s also targeting a park named after Andrew Jackson.
From Chicago’s CBS affiliate:
A Chicago pastor has asked the Emanuel administration to remove the names of two presidents who owned slaves from parks on the South Side, saying the city should not honor slave owners in black communities.
A bronze statue of George Washington on horseback stands at the corner of 51st and King Drive, at the northwest entrance to Washington Park.
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.
“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,” he 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.”
Dukes said, even though Washington was the nation’s first president and led the American army in the Revolutionary War, he’s no hero to the black community.
“There’s no way plausible that we would even think that they would erect a Malcolm X statue in Mount Greenwood, Lincoln Park, or any of that. Not that say Malcolm X was a bad guy; they just would not go for it,” he said. “Native Americans would not even think about putting up a Custer statue, because of the atrocities that he plagued upon Native Americans. And for them to say to us ‘just accept it’ is actually insulting.”
Dukes continued on his Facebook page:
We as Chicagoans must now take the microscope and place it on the statues, monuments and parks that we give honor to. We cannot allow slavery and racism to be awarded in our communities by honoring individuals that indeed partook in the very institution that has kidnapped, murdered, raped, and terrorized our forefather and mothers. The institution of slavery denied education, voting rights, marriage, family unity and property ownership. It has caused generations of psychological trauma, inequality, and lack of wealth that are still prevalent in the lives of us (the descendants of slaves).
We, as a country and city, must heal. That healing can only happen by making moral choices that reflect the creed, that all people are created equal and respected. We will not allow the atrocities of slavery and racism to live through memories in our communities; instead, they should be eradicated and dismantled.
Opportunistic wave riding if ever it existed, but revisionism is a nasty beast regardless of how or why it rears its awful head.
In 2014, Aretha Hence sued Liberation Christian Center and James E. Dukes for breach of contract, claiming they failed to pay back the almost $80,000 she lent them.
But opportunism aside, this is the natural progression of things — once you begin erasing historical monuments, there is no end. When it becomes wholly accepted to impose current values on historical figures and events, why bother with history at all?
As much as it pains me to say so, Trump called this very issue in his heated pressed Monday. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s [statue is] coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, when does it stop?” he asked.
When does it stop?
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