Letter to the Editor: Where's the line on renamings?

To the Editor:

The Reporter has come down firmly on the side of reverting the name of “Yawkey Way” back to its original “Jersey Street” (“Time is up for Yawkey Way”, editorial, March 22, 2018).

This point of view aligns with the vogue of obliterating any public symbol honoring virtue or accomplishment where there is also association with values of the past, which most of us today fortunately find abhorrent. However, if taken far enough, such criteria can produce ever more perplexing dilemmas.

For example, in the Boston Public Garden, there is an equestrian statue of a Southern slaveowner, a man often referred to as the “Father of His Country.” Does it deserve a less auspicious location? Also preserved and on public display in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., is a famous 18th century document that, in declaring the nation’s political independence from its colonial ruler, racially disparages Native Americans. Should it be hidden away? Or its offensive passages redacted?

Is there a line to be drawn? Where?

 – John McColgan
Savin Hill Avenue