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Biden administration to tear down William Penn statue, make historic park more 'welcoming' and 'inclusive'
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Biden administration to tear down William Penn statue, make historic park more 'welcoming' and 'inclusive'

The Biden administration’s National Park Service intends to tear down a statue of William Penn from a historic park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The removal of the statue is being done to make the park a more "welcoming, accurate, and inclusive experience for visitors."

In 1982, Welcome Park was constructed to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania by William Penn. The park was named after Penn's ship, Welcome, that transported him to Pennsylvania. Welcome Park was designed by world-renowned architectural firm Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown.

The nonprofit Independence Hall Association describes Welcome Park as an "open-air museum," and is "the only site in historic Philadelphia dedicated to celebrating the life and contributions of William Penn."

Penn – a Quaker – founded the province of Pennsylvania in 1682 in an attempt to provide a place that offered religious freedom since the Quakers were persecuted.

The Bill of Rights Institute noted: "During the 1660s, Englishmen harshly persecuted the Quakers, whom they considered to be dangerous radicals because of their teachings on social and religious equality."

"Penn had high hopes that the colony would enjoy religious freedom, as well as peace with the Lenni Lenapes and other American Indians who had lived in this land for centuries," the institute added. "Like all Quakers, he was a pacifist, and he was adamant that his new colony would avoid the bloodshed and war between Indians and other English colonists that had occurred in New England and Virginia."

The National Park Service announced last week that it "proposes to rehabilitate Welcome Park to provide a more welcoming, accurate, and inclusive experience for visitors."

"The proposed rehabilitation of Welcome Park includes expanded interpretation of the Native American history of Philadelphia and was developed in consultation with representatives of the indigenous nations of the Haudenosaunee, the Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, the Shawnee Tribe, and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma," the NPS proclaimed.

"The Penn statue and Slate Roof house model will be removed and not reinstalled. In a separate and future effort, new exhibit panels will be installed on the south site wall to replace the Penn timeline," the NPS declared.

Slate Roof House was Penn's residence in Philadelphia starting in 1699.

The public may submit comments within a 14-day period, starting on Jan. 8.

The official X social media page for the Independence National Historical Park has been bombarded by hundreds of comments vehemently opposing the William Penn statue being torn down.

One X user replied, "This makes absolutely no sense. I am a native Philly guy and Penn was 'woke' for his time. He supported and paid the Indian tribes. You are literally crushing a pioneering leader out of intellectual laziness."

Another person said, "You decided to remove the William Penn statue from the ONLY site in the city dedicated to the life and ideas of its founder? Because *some people* are uncomfortable with it? Absolutely shameful."

A commenter added, "You’re removing the statue of William Penn - a paragon of religious liberty and self-government who influenced our U.S. Founding Fathers from the site of his home in the city he founded. Shame. Scrap this plan."

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