Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr posits an interesting question in a recent essay for the newspaper: Are there statues in the Boston area that need to come down because the subject they honor isn’t so ... worthy, never mind great?
New Orleans’ recent removal of statuary honoring Confederate leaders such as Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard spurred the question.
Some candidates Burr puts forth for removal include the Christopher Columbus statue in the North End park that itself was created to honor the explorer; the statue of U.S. Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge on the State House grounds; the statue of Gen. Joseph Hooker, also on the State House grounds; and that of longtime colonial Gov. John Endecott near the Museum of Fine Art in Fenway.
Burr has his reasons for each removal. Columbus for genocide, for instance; Lodge for rank bigotry and war-mongering; Joseph Hooker for sheer ineptitude (he could have crushed Robert E. Lee’s army in 1863, and wrapped the Civil War two years early); and Endecott for intolerance that was extreme even for the 1600s.
What’d you think? Let history be history and keep the statues? Add some further explanations to their markers? Or tear ‘em down? Maybe reconstruct each in an appropriate museum?
And, while we’re at it, is it time for more statues of women in the area, especially ones who lived during the past, oh, 150 years?