A Chicago pastor has petitioned that a bronze statue of George Washington be removed from a South Side park, and that the park be renamed, because the “city should not honor slave owners in black communities.”
“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.
He posted about his petition on his personal Facebook page.
His full post reads:
Please read my letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and The Chicago Park District. I’m calling on them to change the names of Washington and Jackson Park. Slave owners do not deserve the honor of our children playing in parks named after them. There is no way a Native American Community would allow a General Custer Park or a Jewish Community allow a Gestapo Park in their community.
To: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and The Chicago Park District Board:
We as a country are trying to heal from the deep and often infected wounds of slavery and racism in the United States. There has been a national movement to eradicate symbols of slavery, racism, and confederacy in major cities across America.
We as Chicagoans must now take the microscope and place it on the statues, monuments and parks that we give honor to. We cannot allow slavery and racism to be awarded in our communities by honoring individuals that indeed partook in the very institution that has kidnapped, murdered, raped, and terrorized our forefather and mothers. The institution of slavery denied education, voting rights, marriage, family unity and property ownership. It has caused generations of psychological trauma, inequality, and lack of wealth that are still prevalent in the lives of us (the descendants of slaves).
We, as a country and city, must heal. That healing can only happen by making moral choices that reflect the creed, that all people are created equal and respected. We will not allow the atrocities of slavery and racism to live through memories in our communities; instead, they should be eradicated and dismantled.
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.
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. I fully expect that the Chicago Park District and Mayor Rahm Emanuel share in my sentiments and views; that Chicago will not be a place that embraces racism, slavery and its treacherous tentacles. But rather, Chicago will be a beacon of hope for a better tomorrow for all its’ residents.
Love and Respect
+Bishop James E. Dukes
You read that right, folks. This is no longer a ridiculous hypothetical. This is the real deal. And you know what… I wouldn’t be surprised if this idiot gets his wish
He thinks it’s “very disrespectful.” He says having OUR FOUNDING FATHER GEORGE WASHINGTON is akin to a “Gestapo Park” in a Jewish community….
What does he think should go in its place? A Malcom X statue, probably, but evil white people won’t go for it.
“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.”
I can’t even wrap my head around this.