Photos by Helen Armstrong
This is a developing story. Check back for more information.
The Thomas Paine Plaza, home of the city’s contentious Frank Rizzo statue, welcomed a new monument on Tuesday afternoon: an eight-feet-tall, 800-pound pick with a handle that doubles as a Black Power fist.
The piece, All Power to All People by Hank Willis Thomas, was commissioned by Monument Lab, a public art and history project produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia. Read more »
Police guard the Frank Rizzo statue earlier this month. | Photo by Caroline Bartholomew
Thanks to a group of white dudes who decided to go to Charlottesville, Virginia, kill someone, and ruin tiki torches for the rest of us, we’re having a nationwide discussion about monuments.
The discussion of whom we honor, what we honor, and where memorials should go is long overdue — because, let’s face it, memorials are designed to teach as well as commemorate.
While we’re not quite on the level of the statues of the Confederates that seem to be littering the landscapes of the American South left and right, Philadelphia has gotten involved in this discussion because it has its share of problematic monuments.
Probably the most problematic is located at the top of the stairs of the Municipal Services building in the form of a statue of former Mayor and Police Commissioner Frank Rizzo. Read more »
A Philly teacher has been charged with terroristic threats following an alleged altercation during a protest of the city’s Frank Rizzo statue.
John Edward Sheerin, 63, of Crescentville, was arrested on Friday night, more than a week after police say he threatened violence against an officer on August 16th, the night of the “Philly Is Charlottesville” protest outside the Municipal Services building, where the Rizzo statue is located. Read more »
Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock during the past week or so knows the city has a little problem with its Frank Rizzo statue.
The sculpture of the contentious former mayor and police commissioner has come under fire in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, which ignited a conversation about the monuments we choose to honor. First, Councilwoman Helen Gym and activists renewed a push for its removal. Then it was egged. Then it was tagged with “Black Power.”
What happens next could be up to you – the city has put out a call for ideas for the statue’s future. Now’s your chance to write 500 words on how much you hate or love the statue and why (which you’ve probably already done in the comments sections of several news stories this week). Read more »
Rizzo Statue Protest | Photography by Ernest Owens
“Who is more racist: The North or the South?”
That is the age-old question I’m often asked when I tell people I moved to Philly from Texas. Initially, my answer was the South, easily. Philadelphia, with its majority Democratic political base and socially progressive laws, was a clear contrast to the land of statewide bans I grew up in.
But after seven years of residing in Philly, I can’t help but reflect on my grandmother’s long-held response to that question: “What’s worse: a town that can’t seem to get any better no how, or one that doesn’t get any better by choice?”
And it’s that line of thinking that has made me realize that Philly is one of the most unapologetically racist cities around. Read more »
One day after protesters demanded that the city bring bronze Frank Rizzo down from the perch where he’s stood since 1998, Mayor Kenney said he’ll let the Philadelphia Art Commission decide this latest great debate. Read more »
Photo by Joe Trinacria.
After word spread throughout the city that pro-Frank Rizzo statue supporters were planning a protest outside of the Municipal Services Building on Monday afternoon, a group of counter-protesters organized by Philly for REAL Justice sprung into action.
A sit-down with Mayor Kenney ultimately quashed the pro-statue demonstration, but activists on the other side of the issue still held their “Frank Rizzo Down” protest as members of the Philadelphia Police Department stood guard. Read more »
Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia (File photo)
While protesters around the country have been calling for the removal of monuments to the Confederacy, those in Philadelphia have their sights set on a much more modern polarizing entity: Frank Rizzo. Read more »
A since-deleted post to the 9th Street Italian Market’s official Facebook page on Sunday characterized Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym as a bigot for her opinion in the great Frank Rizzo statue debate while simultaneously calling for both her and Mural Arts director Jane Golden’s jobs. Read more »
Frank Rizzo statue | Photo by Jared Brey
A protest calling for the removal of the city’s Frank Rizzo statue is planned for Monday afternoon.
The “Frank Rizzo Down” rally will kick off at 4 p.m. outside the Municipal Services building, where the statue of the former mayor and police commissioner was both egged and tagged with “Black Power” last week amidst calls for its removal. Read more »