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Erasing history? Park Service to remove William Penn statue in Philadelphia, in inclusivity push

The National Parks Service is also seeking public input on the park.

Published: January 8, 2024 9:08am

Updated: January 8, 2024 10:11am

The National Parks Service says it is rehabilitating Philadelphia's Welcome Park to ensure it is "more welcoming, accurate, and inclusive" for visitors, and part of that plan includes removing a statue of the city's founder, William Penn.

In addition to removing the statue, the National Parks Service said in an announcement last week that it will also remove the model of Penn's home known as the Slate Roof House, which was built at the current location of Welcome Park, which was named for the ship Welcome which Penn took to America in 1682.

The proposed plan for the park was developed with input from representatives of five Native American tribes and will include an "expanded interpretation of the Native American history of Philadelphia," the parks agency said. 

Penn, a Quaker, was known for advocating for championing religious freedom and supporting amicable relations with local Native Americans. 

The National Parks Service is also seeking public input from Jan. 8-21, 2024. People looking to comment can go to parkplanning.nps.gov to enter their comments on the redesign. 

However, some people already made their input known on X, formerly Twitter. 

"You are a criminal organization run by worthless anti-American gutter trash," conservative media critic Dan Gainor commented on the National Park Service's post on the park's redesign.  

"'Rehabilitate' suggests the current park is a crime. But you chose that word carefully, didn't you?" another X user said.

Other statues have been removed from public areas in recent years, with a particular focus on Confederate figures from the Civil War.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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