DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a reevaluation of public spaces and monuments to ensure their names and ‘legacies’ are consistent with modern values, sharing the results soon after warning the US is headed for a “race war.”
The list of properties for consideration was posted to Bowser’s Twitter on Tuesday, all named after major US historical figures. The reevaluation was intended to determine whether any of the namesakes “in some way encouraged the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color or contributed to our long history of systemic racism.”
This July, I tasked the DCFACES Working Group with evaluating public spaces to ensure the namesake’s legacy is consistent with #DCValues.They have delivered the report, and I look forward to reviewing and advancing their recommendations.Learn more: https://t.co/VpUZf4HcZBpic.twitter.com/tj889EQmdD
Several of the nation’s founding fathers came up short, according to the report, which recommended renaming offending properties “using existing District government processes” – or, in the case of monuments and memorials, “removing, relocating, or contextualizing” the structures. A handful of properties named for former president Thomas Jefferson and a school building named for statesman Benjamin Franklin were suggested for the chopping block.
The nation’s first president, George Washington, was also found lacking in modern ‘DC values,’ though it’s not clear how the working group expects the District government to “remove or relocate” the towering 555-foot obelisk.
Uhhhhh this committee wants to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” the WASHINGTON MONUMENT https://t.co/4fvHjkNZDc
The report also declined to offer advice on what should be done to rename the District from Washington, DC, given that its current moniker references not one, but two ‘problematic’ men. Explorer Christopher Columbus was also included on the list, but only for a memorial, not his presence in the District’s name itself.
Many of the other historical figures on the list have been subject to campaigns to remove their names or likenesses from public property in recent months over real or imagined transgressions against 21st century mores, including former presidents Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson, as well as“Star Spangled Banner” author Francis Scott Key. However, others – like telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell, whose legacy is marred by his fascination with eugenics – have largely escaped the ire of the cultural revolutionaries thus far.
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The report claims 80 percent of respondents to a web survey and virtual town hall supported the proposed woke makeover of the nation’s capital. However, with just 275 DC residents attending the town hall and just 2,300 residents completing the survey, convincing evidence for widespread support is lacking. Indeed, just 26 percent of respondents said they were interested in renaming public assets, while 22 percent said they wanted to see the offending asset moved to a museum, park, or “different public space.” Twelve percent didn’t want changes made at all.
Among the buildings and monuments cited as most loathed by residents are the J. Edgar Hoover building – the headquarters of the FBI, named after its controversial former director – and the Emancipation Memorial, which depicts Abraham Lincoln with a freed slave. Neither made it onto the “rename or remove” list, however.
On Monday, Bowser voiced fears that the US is “descending into a race war,” warning the rioting that took place in the District over the weekend “could be domestic terrorism,” potentially “organized and funded.” She blamed President Donald Trump for “continued incitement of violence,” arguing leadership “should be focused on bringing our communities together” while suggesting everyone “tamp down this black versus white rhetoric.”
Less than 24 hours later, she published a report denouncing the US’ founders as racists and calling for their names to be excised from the nation’s capital for good.
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