Imagine being triggered by George Washington.
Bishop James Dukes, a pastor at Liberation Christian Center located on Chicago’s south side, is demanding that the city of Chicago re-dedicate two parks in the area that are named after former presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson. His reasons? Dukes says that monuments honoring men who owned slaves have no place in the black community, even if those men once led the free world.
Dukes is also demanding that the city remove a bronze statue of Washington on horseback that stands at the corner of 51st and King Drive, at the northwest entrance to Washington Park, according to CBS Chicago.
“’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.’”
To be sure, Dukes has proposed a solution that would allow the parks to keep at least part of their names. The city could re-dedicate Washington Park to former Mayor Harold Washington, and Jackson Park could be renamed after Michael Jackson (or maybe even one of his sisters). Dukes also emphasized that he’s not trying to “erase” history, but rather that black people should have a say over who is and isn’t honored on land in their community.
“I think we 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,” he said.
Dukes said parks, statues, or other monuments honoring Presidents Washington and Jackson might be appropriate elsewhere, but not in black neighborhoods.
“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.
He said he’s sent letters to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Park District asking them to change the names of Washington and Jackson parks. He shared the letter on Facebook.
“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,” Dukes wrote in his Facebook post, according to CBS’s Chicago affiliate.
“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.”
Dukes’ call to remove Washington’s statue follows the toppling of a monument commemorating the Confederacy during an “emergency protest” held over the weekend. Antifa leader Takiya Thompson was hit with several charges, including at least one felony, after she led a crowd of angry protesters to topple a statue of a Confederate soldier located outside the historic Durham, N.C. courthouse. The 15-feet tall monument was erected in 1924 and engraved at the base with the words, “In memory of ‘the boys who wore the gray.’”
Takiya Thompson, who is part of the far-left Workers World Party, described her actions as tearing down “vestiges of white supremacy.”
Is this the beginning of a widespread campaign to remove all statues and public memorials that are in some way tainted by a racist or violent past? If so, Americans should go visit their favorite public works of art now, before the repressive left succeeds in either sanitizing them, or having them removed altogether.