September 2, 2020, 11.12 PM

Some of the group’s recommendations were widely expected; for example, Woodrow Wilson High School has been a prime candidate for a name change for years due to Wilson’s open public support for segregation.

Others are more controversial, such as proposals to rename schools named for Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and “The Star-Spangled Banner” composer Francis Scott Key.

For the multiple statues and monuments on federal land, the committee advises Bowser to ask the federal government to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” landmarks such as the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial and the statue of Christopher Columbus outside Union Station.

The task force, in its summary, explained that it focused on “key disqualifying histories, including participation in slavery, systemic racism, mistreatment of, or actions that suppressed equality for, persons of color, women and LGBTQ communities and violation of the DC Human Rights Act.”

Read also: Prominent Figures and Academics Defend LGBT Rights in Poland

The report doesn't go into detail about how “re-contextualizing” would work, but there have been recent recommendations that plaques be added to the monuments to Jefferson and Washington, explaining that their namesakes were longtime slave-owners.

Bowser, in a Tuesday tweet, said she looked forward to reviewing the recommendations from the task force, which she had tasked with “evaluating public spaces to ensure the namesake’s legacy is consistent with #DCValues”.

Bowser has very little power to control what happens on federal land. She and the D.C. Council fought for years to have a statue of former Confederate general Albert Pike removed; they were unsuccessful because the statue sits on federal land.

In June, hundreds of protesters toppled the Pike statue while officers from the Metropolitan Police Department looked on and kept their distance. 

(Writer: Ashraf Khalil) 


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