Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Millard Fillmore under attack in Buffalo

Poorly regarded by historians, our thirteenth president, Millard Fillmore, is honored in his adopted hometown of Buffalo, New York. For instance, there is a statue of Fillmore in front of Buffalo's city hall.

But there is a movement in western New York state for the region to turn its back on unlucky number 13.

From the Buffalo News:
Millard Fillmore, the abolitionist president who signed the Fugitive Slavery Act of 1850, may have lived – and died – in Buffalo, but as far as the Buffalo NAACP is concerned, he should not be honored with any more buildings or sites bearing his name.

The NAACP is asking elected leaders to deny future requests to name anything more in Buffalo after the 13th president, because of his endorsement of the controversial slavery measure.

“He may have been president, but a president who saw to it that escaped slaves would be returned to his master,” said Frank Mesiah, president of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP.

The NAACP board has sent a letter to Council President Darius G. Pridgen explaining its opposition to any additional buildings or sites in Buffalo being named in Fillmore’s honor. The request is being made now, Mesiah said, because the NAACP has heard reports – unconfirmed – that there is interest in naming additional sites in honor of Fillmore. Mesiah declined to name who might be interested in further honoring Fillmore.
Fillmore can claim some accomplishments as president, including the Gadsden Purchase and Commodore Matthew Perry's successful mission to open up Japan to Western trade.


Anonymous said...

If Millard Fillmore was an abolitionist, George Wallace was a civil rights champion.

John Ruberry said...

Fillmore, despite signing the Fugitive Slave Act into law, was anti-slavery. Abolitionist? Perhaps not.