Philly grapples with statues of Frank Rizzo, Christopher Columbus, and more a year after protests

Jun 01, 2021 830

BY: Sean Collins Walsh and Chris Brennan

The protesters who made their way through Center City on the first day Philadelphia saw mass demonstrations following the murder of George Floyd were looking for places to direct their anger. They came upon the statue of Frank L. Rizzo, the late mayor and police commissioner whose legacy so perfectly captured the style of policing they were fighting against that the monument could have been placed there for the occasion.

Rizzo supporters got the statue installed outside the Municipal Services Building in 1999. Mayor Jim Kenney ordered it removed in the middle of the night amid the sweeping protests last June. A year later, Philadelphia is still grappling with place names and monuments that honor people whose legacies many find offensive — and how to implement a better system of commemoration going forward.

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