Chicago is set to consider removing as many as 41 prominent public monuments currently on display in the city, according to a list compiled by Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot's administration and published online this week.
The monument cleanse is part of a "racial healing and historical reckoning project" kicked off by the mayor's office last summer, in response to a groundswell of Black Lives Matter protests that rocked the city.
According to its website, the Chicago Monuments Project was initiated to "grapple with" and to "address the hard truths of Chicago's racial history."
Included on the list of controversial monuments are those of four U.S. presidents — George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, and William McKinley — and other influential historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, and Leif Ericson.
As a part of the project, an advisory board was tasked with reviewing more than 500 monuments and statues in order to determine which among them were not representative of the city's values and thus potentially warranted further action. The 41 eventually identified were selected for the following reasons, the website stated:
- Promoting narratives of white supremacy
- Presenting inaccurate and/or demeaning characterizations of American Indians
- Memorializing individuals with connections to racist acts, slavery, and genocide
- Presenting selective, over-simplified, one-sided views of history
- Not sufficiently including other stories, in particular those of women, people of color, and themes of labor, migration, and community building
- Creating tension between people who see value in these artworks and those who do not