Friday, February 26, 2021

Chicago monuments under assault, Part Three, Melville Fuller

America has had 17 chief justices of the US Supreme Court but only one was a Chicagoan, Augusta, Maine-born Melville Fuller. He served 21 years in that position, from 1888 until his death in 1910, the third-longest tenure of a chief justice. Fuller was a dead-ringer for Mark Twain, who also died in 1910.

Fuller, a Democrat who was appointed to the Court by Grover Cleveland, has a bronze bust that sits outside the field house at his eponymous Fuller Park in the Fuller Park neighbhorhood, which is located immediately south of Guaranteed Rate Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox. And this bust is "under review" by the Chicago Monuments Project.

Click here to see a photograph of the bust.

In response to the riot ouside the since-moved Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, Mayor Lori Lightfoot initiated the Chicago Monuments Project

Fuller is best-remembered for the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson 7-1 decision that legalized racial segregation, that is, "seperate but equal." He voted with majority--they got it wrong--the majority opinion was written by another justice. And that is why Fuller's bust is in jeopardy. Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned by Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Eight years ago a descendant of the chief justice, Robert Fuller, donated a bronze statue of Melville that has stood outside the Kennebec County courthouse in Augusta, Maine. Earlier this month county commissioners there unanimoulsly voted to move the Fuller statue to another location, one that has not been determined. 

The Fuller bust, designed by William Ordway Partridge, is based on his marble bust of the chief justice, which is on display inside the US Capitol. 

Prior to his being named to the Supreme Court, Fuller served as a member of the Illinois General Assembly, he was a delegate to the 1862 Illinois constitutional convention, and he was a president of the Illinois Bar Association. According to the Chicago Park District, "As the attorney for the South Park Board of Commissioners from 1882 to 1886, Fuller made several decisions that were instrumental to Chicago’s parks, particularly concerning the development of the lakefront."

To comment on the Fuller bust and the forty others "under review" please visit the Chicago Monuments Project "Feedback page." Please be polite but firm in your comments.

If you Tweet this post--and I urge you to do so--please use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Earlier posts

Chicago monuments under assault, Part One, William McKinley

Chicago monuments under assault, Part Two, Young Lincoln

Related post of mine at Da Tech Guy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Liberals destroying our country, and our history.