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Ganim: Lewis Latimer Statue Stays

February 17th, 2017 · 27 Comments · City Council, News and Events

Lewis Latimer

Lewis Latimer statue. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.

Following public pressure, Mayor Joe Ganim on Thursday announced that the statue of electrical pioneer Lewis Latimer, created under predecessor Bill Finch, will remain in front of the Margaret Morton Government Center. CT Post scribe Brian Lockhart has more here

From the mayor’s office:

Mayor Joe Ganim today issued the following statement in opposition to moving or disrupting the statue depicting legendary African-American engineer and inventor Lewis Latimer. The Latimer statue has been standing in prominent display in front of Bridgeport’s Margaret Morton Government Center building at 999 Broad Street since it was erected in 2013.

“Lewis Latimer is a significant inventor in world history, and he is a proud symbol of everything Bridgeport strives to be: hard working, creative, brilliant, and a light unto the world,” said Mayor Ganim.  “Indoor lighting in every building on planet earth derived from Latimer’s groundbreaking work and discoveries–on his own and in partnership with Thomas Edison. Lewis Latimer is one of Bridgeport’s most prominent global citizens and we are extremely proud to honor him in front of our government center. I have shared my opinion with members of the Bridgeport City Council and members of the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone that the statue of Lewis Latimer is of significant historic value to our entire community in Bridgeport. It should remain standing proudly in front of the Margaret Morton building as an inspiration to all who see it and as a reminder of everything Bridgeport can be.”

The statue of Lewis Howard Latimer was purchased by the previous Mayoral administration for $65,000 using grant funds earmarked for the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ). These funds were meant for streetscape improvements. The late Lewis Howard Latimer was born in Massachusetts in 1848 and later moved to Whiting Street in the South End of Bridgeport in 1879 when he is believed to have invented an improved method for production of filaments in light bulbs.

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27 Comments so far ↓

  • Gage Frank

    “It should remain standing proudly in front of the Margaret Morton building as an inspiration to all who see it and as a reminder of everything Bridgeport can be.”

    The “potential” of Bridgeport message nothing short of hackneyed. Will we ever turn that potential energy into something more, kinetic?

  • Frank Gyure

    Another brilliant move by Joe Ganim. He is completely tone deaf.

  • Donald Day

    Had Mayor Ganim had a black with a social conscience in his inner circle, who would have told him the truth without fear of reprisal, then all this would have been rendered moot. Someone should have told him this was a bad idea and it defies credulity to think someone didn’t tell him this was a bad idea.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Donald, just the thought of doing this was so stupid, insensitive, unnecessary; I could go on and on. I didn’t even want to dignify this ignorance with a comment, but yours made me do it.

  • Jimfox

    Jimfox // Feb 14, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    John Lee, lets not tell those sleepy black churches and money-grabbing pastors, who can care less about the removal of the Latimer statue, Black History month is over.
    God forbid if someone makes a field trip to the Margret Morton Center named after the first African American woman elected to the Connecticut State Senate, then asks who;s the black guy holding a light bulb.
    This goes to show the Black community what this Mayor really thinks of them, he wants it gone!
    The NRZ story turns out to be total fabricated bullshit!!!
    John M Lee, keep up the good fight, we hear you!

    • Jimfox

      Thank you, John Lee!!!

    • John Marshall Lee

      Three days ago on February 14, 2017 I submitted an article that was published by OIB on two public expenditures by the City in the past three years of dubious (or unlawful) sourcing. The first target was $375,000, likely bonded and payable over 20 years by the City for a light projection show at three city locations, a brainstorm of the Finch administration that will likely cost around $800,000. The second subject was the Latimer statue, evidently funded by the Finch administration from NRZ funds from the State. Stated simply, a statue in front of City Hall would not qualify as downtown does not have an NRZ presence and no local NRZ has admitted to being part of the decision making process.
      $800,000 here, $66,000 there, $950,000 from OPED to pay off Port Authority funding and no one bothers to write of their concern when these things are reported? Why not? Are there any taxpayers out there?

      Isn’t it funny there was enough pushback from some in the community to get City Hall to hesitate in their plans to move the statue? If there were significant enough financial indignation, would the various stories about poorly told financial issues and results be subject to modification, that is improvement?

      Latimer was a creative individual, taking advantage of his natural abilities and some continuing education and learning to make scientific and economic development. Isn’t that a worthy local story for presentation at the entrance to City Hall? Who will join me to become a City watchdog, mindful of municipal money issues? On March 11 and 12, Generation Now is sponsoring CIVICS 101, a basic course for any and all to learn how the City operates. Look it up. Register. Learn and practice what it takes to be a genuine citizen. Much more than being a member of a party, certainly. Listen! Learn! Find your voice. Speak your mind. Time will tell.

  • Mojo

    *** I want a statue now of everyone and anyone from Bpt. who has contributed or done great things in America or abroad! Bpt’s walkway of greatness by citizens or ex-citizens of the Park City. It makes for good politics, no? ***

  • Tom White

    How about a statue of every city council member? All in favor? Aye. Motion to adjourn? Aye.

  • Steven Auerbach

    I am pleased! Beautiful statue. Never would have seen it at U.B. The only spots that would have been acceptable would have been by the Peoples Bank and Barnum Museum or McClevy Green. The Margaret Morton Center is ideal and the best location! Why it was going to move is way beyond me.

    Speaking about Black History, when will the city support the refurbishing of the first homes of the Freeman sisters, Little Liberia in the South End by the arena? I have been pushing for this for years talking with the NAACP, ABCD–why in a community of so many African Americans is this not a priority? This should be a museum and tourist attraction for the city and a sense of pride!!!

  • Andrew C Fardy

    What’s the big deal? Go ahead and put this statue down by UB where no one will see it, or leave it where it is. There are certain people in this city who will piss and moan over anything. To you people here is the message: FU.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    How about one big statue of an AH, which can then represent more than 50% of Bridgeport’s residents.

  • Bob Walsh

    To tell you the truth, I didn’t even notice the statue was there.
    But also, to tell you the truth, a statue of Margaret Morton would be far more appropriate. A fine lady she was and did more for Bridgeport than Lewis ever did.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Bubba, it took me a while to read the plaque usually because that building isn’t a place I like to go unless it’s absolutely necessary, like the Registrar’s Office. But I admire and appreciate the history and it seems to just belong there. I agree we should have a gracious, impressive memorial in honor of Senator Margaret Morton. She was the first politician I ever worked with back in the early ’70s and I love and respect her for being the pioneer she was. A woman who was a true lady, humanitarian, honest, effective political leader, and for those of us still here to perpetuate and honor her work are blessed.

    • Gage Frank

      No love for the Representative Reverend Doctor Charlie Stallworth?

  • Tom White

    If the entrance area of city hall annex is being used to recognize Bridgeporters who made contributions, perhaps the Gustav Whitehead memorial should be relocated there. Perhaps at UB, closer to where he made his flights.

  • invincible

    My thoughts, a waste of money down the drain.
    That money could’ve been spent in the area it was assigned to, and something more productive.

    But the brownie points did not work.
    Keep your eyes on the new school. Obama School. Not. But someone will try. I guess Bill thought maybe Obama would come back and visit and once again Bill can say, look who is coming to dinner. Unforgettable day! Unforgettable comment. And shame on Bill.

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