Boston councilmember wants hearing to consider renaming Faneuil Hall due to slavery ties

Oct 24, 2023, 9:07 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s City Council on Wednesday is expected to debate whether to hold a hearing on renaming Faneuil Hall, a popular tourist site that is named after a wealthy merchant who owned and traded slaves.

In calling for the hearing, Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson has filed a resolution decrying the building’s namesake, Peter Faneuil, as a “white supremacist, a slave trader, and a slave owner who contributed nothing recognizable to the ideal of democracy.”

The push is part of a larger discussion on forms of atonement to Black Bostonians for the city’s role in slavery and its legacy of inequality.

The downtown meeting house was built for the city by Faneuil in 1742 and was where Samuel Adams and other American colonists made some of the earliest speeches urging independence from Britain.

“It is important that we hold a hearing on changing the name of this building because the name disrespects Black people in the city and across the nation,” Pastor Valerie Copeland, of the Dorchester Neighborhood Church, said in a statement. “Peter Faneuil’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade is an embarrassment to us all.”

The Rev. John Gibbons, a minister at the Arlington Street Church, said in a statement that the goal is not to erase history with a name change but to correct the record. “He was a man who debased other human beings,” he said. “His name should not be honored in a building called the cradle of liberty.”

Some activists suggested the building could instead honor Crispus Attucks, a Black man considered the first American killed in the Revolutionary War.

According to The Boston Globe, the City Council can hold a hearing on the name, but it doesn’t have the authority to actually rename Faneuil Hall. That power lies with a little-known city board called the Public Facilities Commission.

The push to rename famous spots in Boston is not new.

In 2019, Boston officials approved renaming the square in the historically Black neighborhood of Roxbury to Nubian Square from Dudley Square. Roxbury is the historic center of the state’s African American community. It’s where a young Martin Luther King, Jr. preached and Malcolm X grew up.

Supporters wanted the commercial center renamed because Roxbury resident Thomas Dudley was a leading politician when Massachusetts legally sanctioned slavery in the 1600s.

A year earlier, the Red Sox successfully petitioned to change the name of a street near Fenway Park that honored a former team owner who had resisted integration.

United States News

Associated Press

Disneyland character and parade performers in California vote to join labor union

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Disneyland performers who help bring Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and other beloved characters to life at the Southern California resort chose to unionize following a three-day vote culminating on Saturday. The Actors’ Equity Association labor union said in a statement Saturday that cast members for the parades and characters departments at Disney’s […]

44 minutes ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant to serve indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Dive team finds bodies of 2 men dead inside plane found upside down in Alaska lake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The bodies of two men have been recovered from a plane that was found face down in a lake, Alaska State Troopers said Saturday. Troopers were notified late Friday of the upside-down aircraft in Six Mile Lake near the Athabascan community of Nondalton, located about 200 miles (322 kilometers) southwest of […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

6 people killed, 10 others injured in Idaho when pickup crashes into passenger van

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Six people were killed Saturday in Idaho in a two-car accident that included a large passenger van, authorities said. Ten others were injured in the crash on U.S. Highway 20 in Idaho Falls and taken to local hospitals, Idaho State Police said in a statement. An eastbound pickup crossed the […]

8 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...


Rudy Giuliani served Arizona indictment in alleged scheme to overturn 2020 presidential election results

Attorney Rudy Giuliani was served notice on Friday of his Arizona indictment in the alleged scheme to overturn 2020 presidential election results in former President Donald Trump's favor, according to Kris Mayes, the state's attorney general.

13 hours ago

Associated Press

6 Penn students among 19 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested during attempt to occupy building

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A half-dozen University of Pennsylvania students were among 19 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested during an attempt to occupy a school building, university police said Saturday. Their arrests came a week after authorities broke up a protest encampment on campus and arrested nine students — and as other colleges across the country, anxious to […]

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Boston councilmember wants hearing to consider renaming Faneuil Hall due to slavery ties