Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced that her city of Chicago will be commencing a "public process" to review 41 various "statues, plaques, and works of art" that could be deemed "offensive" to marginalized population groups.
Dubbed the "Chicago Monuments Project," a months-long process of evaluating over 500 Chicago-area public monuments last summer resulted in the identification of 41 problematic memorials that fell short of the "city's values of equity and justice." Lightfoot said the public will now be asked to give their thoughts on which ones should stay and which ones should go.
"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 41 statues, plaques, and works of art, including those of four former U.S. presidents: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and William McKinley," local media reported.
The inclusion of the father of the country, George Washington, was perhaps not as surprising as seeing two of Illinois' heroes, Abe Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant on the list. Both the Great Emancipator and the famous general who won the end of slavery through war, made the list for failing to fully embrace modern views of race relations.
Besides the offending presidents, other statues on the chopping block include:
- Christopher Columbus
- Haym Solomon (one of the few Jewish founding fathers)
- Haymarket riot monument (a violent labor rally)
It remains to be seen whether the city will move forward with actually dismantling or removing the statues. Mayor Lightfoot has publicly discussed the idea of erecting new monuments that "equitably acknowledge Chicago's shared history." She calls the process a "powerful opportunity for us to come together as a city."