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Faneuil Hall artifacts would be used to show Boston’s role in slavery under new proposal

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Move comes amid calls to rename the tourist trap because of its namesake’s ties to slave-trading

The exterior of Faneuil Hall in Boston. The facade is red brick and there is a tower. ArtifyAnalog/Shutterstock

The Walsh administration has proposed spending $315,000 to restore 17th- and 18th-century artifacts found beneath Faneuil Hall to illuminate Boston’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.

The proposal is one of 56 community preservation projects that Mayor Marty Walsh proposed February 16, totaling $34 million. Further details about the artifacts and how they would be used to highlight Boston’s role in slavery is not clear.

The proposal comes amid continuing calls to rename the hall—one of the most popular tourist attractions not only in Boston, but the United States—because of its namesake’s ties to slavery.

The wealth that allowed Peter Faneuil to bequeath the original hall was based in sizable part upon not only slave ownership but slave-trading.

Mayor Marty Walsh said in early 2018 that he opposes such a name change. He did not think that that many people knew the history of Faneuil the man, who died in 1743 (ironically enough, amid a successful partnership to bring 20 kidnapped Africans to the New World).

Walsh instead, in a statement then, chose to focus on the landmark’s more recent history as a setting for such milestones as the signing of the Affordable Care Act and oath of citizenship ceremonies.

As for the proposal regarding the artifacts’ preservation, the City Council is expected to vote in March on the larger package that it’s a part of. Stay tuned.