I received a few responses to yesterday’s column on the decision to take down and store the Wilmington statues of Caesar Rodney and Christopher Columbus.
One reader and friend of this newsletter noted that I failed to mention Rodney’s many accomplishments that included legislation to prohibit the importation of slaves into Delaware while serving as Delaware House speaker. He also noted that Rodney freed his slaves upon his death.
At the time, slavery was on the wane in the new state as farms shifted away fromlabor-intensive tobacco. Delaware went on to have a high percentage of free people of color, with limited rights. This interesting fact has been lost to history.
A reader from New Castle wrote that Black church pioneers Richard Allen. Peter Spencer and Samuel Eli Cornish are “great contenders for better statues in Delaware.” Also on a list of religious leaders from the Delaware Historical Society is Absalom Jones, who was born a slave in Sussex County and went on to become the nation’s first Black Episcopal priest.
There were no direct responses to the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue on Delaware Avenue.
It is clear that Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki did not want anything resembling the mess in South Philadelphia where a group of men, a few armed, have been “guarding” a Columbus statue. Since we are talking about Philly, there have been a few injuries. The statue remains behind a barricade with police present.
Delawarean Joe DiStefano’s story in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the legal battle and the passions ignited by the Philadelphia statue is worth checking out.
Based on comments regarding Columbus statues in recent days, some of us need to go back and read our history books. Contrary to one post, Columbus was from Genoa, not Spain. The Spanish monarchy bankrolled his expedition.
In the meantime, the plaza where Columbus formerly resided has been renamed on Google Maps as Aubrey Plaza Plaza. The actress and comedienne earlier noted that during her time at nearby Ursuline Academy, she marched in protest against the statue.
Finally, a couple of readers are happy with the 4 p.m. release of the daily newsletter, with one saying the news appears to be fresher.
Here’s hoping you had a productive Tuesday This newsletter returns tomorrow at 4 p.m. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.