Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Chicago monuments under assault, Part 19: Benjamin Franklin

Before George Washington it was Benjamin Franklin who was the personification of America. 

Franklin was a scientist, an inventor, a philosopher, a librarian, a postmaster, a journalist, a diplomat, and of course one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. 

Later in his long life--84 years was a very long life in the 18th century--Franklin became an abolitionist. But at one time he was a sloave holder--owning anywhere from two to seven slaves. 

The Ben Franklin statue is one of the 41 reliefs, monuments, and plaques that "have been identified for a public discussion" from Mayor Lori Lightfoot's secretive Chicago Monuments Project, formed as her reponse to last summer's riot outside the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park. 

It's likely that Franklin's status as a onetime slave owner that has placed Franklin's statue, which has been standing in Lincoln Park for decades, that has put the bronze work "under review" by the Chicago Monuments Project. The statue was designed by Richard Henry Park.

If you believe that it's an outrage that Franklin's statue could disappear in Chicago and you are just checking in to read my series on the monuments, you'll get even angrier when you learn Abraham Lincoln is on that list for possible removal. And Washington is on that list too.

But last week there was some encouraging news on this project. Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) introduced an ordinance that would require the "decommissioning or other removal of a statue, monument, plaque, or similar carved or cast artwork shall be subject to approval by the City Council." Good for him. 

To comment on the monuments "under review" please visit the Chicago Monuments Project's "Feedback page." Please be polite but firm in your comments. 

Please Tweet this post. When you do so use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

Earlier posts

Related posts of mine at Da Tech Guy

No comments: