Posted on January 12, 2024

Park Service Retracts Decision to Take Down William Penn Statue at Philadelphia Historical Site

Marc Levy, Associated Press, January 8, 2024

The National Park Service withdrew a proposal Monday to take down a statue of William Penn at a Philadelphia historical site as part of a renovation that touched off a torrent of criticism over the legacy of the man who founded the province of Pennsylvania.

In a brief statement, Independence National Historical Park said it has withdrawn the proposal it had announced quietly before the weekend about a wider renovation of Welcome Park, located just blocks from the Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center.

The proposal, it said, was released “prematurely” and hadn’t undergone a complete internal review.

{snip} The park service never explained the reason for the impetus to remove the statue.

The plan had also involved expanding the telling of Philadelphia’s Native American history and fixing up a deteriorating hardscaped park.

Taking down the statue of William Penn, however, looked like it might become the latest front in a fight over how to tell the nation’s history through its monuments.

Pennsylvania’s top Republican state House member, Rep. Bryan Cutler, had accused President Joe Biden in a statement of trying to “cancel” William Penn. Cutler called it “another sad example of the left in this country scraping the bottom of the barrel of wokeism to advance an extreme ideology and a nonsensical view of history.”