A Chicago Bishop is calling on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove the name of President George Washington from a southside park.
In a letter addressed to the Mayor and posted to Facebook, Bishop James E. Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center, calls for the removal Washington’s name as well as that of President Andrew Jackson. Dukes argues that their “active participation in the slave trade” makes them unfit for the honor of being held as heroes.
We as Chicagoans must now take the microscope and place it on the statues, monuments and parks that we give honor to,” Bishop Dukes wrote in a letter to Emanuel. “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.”
“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,” Dukes added. “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.”
According to CBS Chicago, Dukes also wants the removal of a statue of Washington found in the same park:
“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.”