Equity in Memorials Panel Calls for Audit

Susan Wilson

On Monday December 11 at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, well over 150 people attended a discussion on how to achieve equity is commemorative monuments and memorials.

The meeting, co-sponsored by the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail and Boston City Council President Michelle Wu, began with a presentation by author, historian and photographer Susan Wilson who is also an Advisor for BWHT.  Wilson’s photo survey of Boston’s prominent monuments displayed “white men on pedestals” and only a few statues of women or people of color. In opening the panel discussion, Wu noted that when groups and communities are not recognized in the social fabric of the city, this leaves a sense that something’s missing. The panel included Meg Campbell from the BWHT, Wing Kai To of the Chinese Historical Society of New England and L’Merchie Frazier from the Museum of African-American History.

Meg Campbell, Wing Kai-To, L’Merchie Frazier

Campbell called for a moratorium on commemorations of white men until recognition of women and people of color can be achieved. She noted that a good beginning would be for the city to undertake an audit of existing commemorations as in names of schools, playgrounds, streets, and the like. The impressive turnout demonstrated that the BWHT has many allies in creating equity – racial, gender, and cultural pluralism in how the city recognizes pedestal-worthy individuals.

Images courtesy of Ling-Mei Wong for the Sampan Newspaper.