Posted on September 21, 2018

Historic Debate as Some Push to Rename Boston Landmarks

Bob Dumas, WFXT-TV, September 20, 2018

{snip} And in Boston, the effort to remove controversial names from iconic buildings and streets is taking hold.

Faneuil Hall, along Boston’s Freedom Trail, is named after Peter Faneuil, a colonial-era merchant linked to the slave trade.

The New Democracy Coalition, a Boston-based non-profit and non-partisan coalition committed to civic action, is leading a boycott of the famous tourist spot and asking the city to hold a hearing on the feasibility of a changing the building’s name.

“The average visitor to Faneuil Hall will hear that Faneuil Hall, in fact, was constructed through the sale of a slave boy,” said Kevin Peterson of the New Democracy Coalition. “That’s a tragic part of history that we need to discuss.”

“If we were to remove the name, {snip} we will be able to engage the Boston community in conversations about how we come together racially.”


The Faneuil Hall organizers think changing the name of such a well-known landmark can send an important message about where the city wants to go. “This effort isn’t really about rewriting history,” said Peterson, “it’s about addressing our full history.”

Carl Robert Keyes, a history professor at Assumption College in Worcester, said “I think that one thing that we need to keep in mind about this is that these monuments are not just about our past. They are not reflections of our history, but instead, they represent what we want to commemorate today.”


{snip} The Devotion School, named for Edward Devotion, the man who bequeathed the land and was a slave owner, is in the process of being renamed after 120 years. Brookline students will be involved in the name deliberations and will make a recommendation to the school committee.