Chicago May Tear Down Jewish Washington Statue Symbolizing Tolerance

(Photo courtesy of Antonio Vernon)

7 people were shot in Chicago on Monday. There's a huge snowstorm. And Mayor Lightfoot is moving to fix Chicago's problems by tearing down American statues.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed Wednesday to confront the “hard truths of Chicago’s racial history” — by launching a public process to review the fate of 40 statues, plaques and works of art, including those of four former U.S. presidents: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant and William McKinley.

City Hall then launched the Chicago Monuments Project and created an advisory committee to conduct a comprehensive review of more than 500 Chicago statues and monuments, with an eye toward identifying those that were offensive, problematic or not representative of city’s values of equity and justice.

Last month, advisory committee co-chair Jennifer Scott, director and chief curator of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, disclosed it had pinpointed 40 statues it deemed problematic.

The reasons included: promoting narratives of white supremacy; presenting an inaccurate or demeaning portrayal of Native Americans; celebrating people with connections to slavery, genocide or racist acts; or “presenting selective, over-simplified, one-sided views of history.”

Other monuments were targeted for presenting “selective, over-simplified” or lop-sided views of history; ignoring contributions from women, people of color, or themes of labor, migration and community building” or creating unnecessary conflict.

The 40 statues include several statues of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. One of those Washington statues honors the Jewish role in the Revolution and was meant as a symbol of tolerance.

In addition to the mounted Washington by French and Potter on 51st and Martin Luther King Boulevard (1904), this work shows Washington in the company of two financiers of the American Revolution, Robert Morris and Haym Salomon.... 

Haym Salomon was Jewish. And a traditional symbol of American Jewish patriotism in another era.

According to Christopher J. Young in the American Jewish Archive Journal, Hodes' solution was to emphasize not Salomon himself, but to use Salomon to underline the broader ethnic contributions to the Revolutionary War and to contemporary civic life. The inscription at the base is taken from Washington's 1790 speech to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, RI: "The government of United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support." A bronze plaque placed by the donor reads: "Symbol of American tolerance and unity and of the cooperation of people of all races and creeds in the building of the United States.”

This is one of the statues that Chicago would like to get rid of. It doesn't have people of color, I suppose.

Other statues on Chicago's Democrat hit list include Leif Ericson, Benjamin Franklin, General Grant, and, bafflingly, the Statue of the Republic which isn't even of an actual person. 

But destroyers gotta destroy.

Share