The future of the Christopher Columbus statue will play out in a public hearing, followed by a meeting of the Miscellaneous Matters Committee Thursday night. At issue two driving forces: those condemning the fallout of the Italian’s colonization of Caribbean islands flying the flag of Spain and Italian American stalwarts arguing for a community dialogue to place the statue into historical context.
Mayor Joe Ganim had the statue removed citing public safety concerns following protests around the country and in Connecticut, some that turned violent. The Board of Park Commissioners, following a request from Ganim to decide the statue’s future location, voted for its return to Breezy Point at Seaside Park overlooking Long island Sound.
In 1962 leaders in Bridgeport’s Italian American community formed a committee to honor civic and ethnic pride. The outgrowth of that included a statue dedicated to Columbus, backed by Samuel Tedesco, the city’s first mayor of Italian heritage. Tedesco also served in the dual roles of mayor and Connecticut’s lieutenant governor.
The committee that included industrialist Francis “Hi-Ho” D’Addario raised $15,000 for the statue’s sculpting and dedication.
In July 1964, as covered by the Bridgeport Post, the Board of Park Commissioners gave the committee permission for erecting a statue of Columbus in Seaside Park while also suggesting another site at what was then grounds of City Hall at Main and State Streets known today as McLevy Green which plays host to cultural events such as the Bridgeport Arts Fest, Downtown Thursdays and the holiday tree lighting. The board made the recommendation under the proviso it became a city park. The green is named for Jasper McLevy, the long-term socialist mayor Tedesco defeated in in 1957.
In November 1967 City Hall was relocated to Lyon Terrace.
McLevy Green was eventually dedicated a city park.
The Columbus committee, with the blessing of the park board, settled on Seaside Park.
In October 1965, the statue was unveiled with Tedesco, D’Addario, former Connecticut Governor and ambassador to Spain John Lodge and sculptor Clemente Spampinato among the attendees.
Former State Rep. Chris Caruso and ex Mayor Lenny Paoletta want to keep the statue at its original location. Could it end up somewhere else? Depends on how the next several weeks play out. Columbus weekend festivities that includes a parade down Madison Avenue are just six weeks away.
The City Council’s Miscellaneous Matters Committee meeting will take place by Zoom/Teleconference to consider a resolution calling for the “Restoration of the Christopher Columbus statue to its original location in Seaside Park; Resolving to working together to unite the community in reaching an amicable resolution regarding this sensitive issue.”
The public may listen into this meeting by calling the following conference line and then entering the conference code:
Dial In Number: (929) 436-2866
Meeting ID: 961 7777 9984
Prior to the meeting a public hearing will take place at 6 p.m. by Zoom/Teleconference. The public may dial in by calling the following conference line and then entering the conference code:
Dial In Number: (929) 436-2866
Meeting ID: 995 7447 5047
DO NOT return that statue. It is time to face honest facts.
I will end this debate on this note. Everyone says they want diversity but not in the mind, No matter what you look like you have to think the same way or you are not wanted.
While those calling for the statue are wrong, first by claiming it represents white supremacy that has gone to the wayside because it’s hard to feed that shit like it was about Columbus’ history in our school book. Now it has turned to the Colonization of America in the oppression of blacks and indigenous people of this land. Chris and the Italian community running the Columbus Parade had shown no loyalty to either the city or Columbus when the decision to abandon and move a 100-year-old tradition in the Port to another town.
The political people of the Port aways keep saying the city needs to come together when there’s a tragedy yet seems to attack each other while the people of the Port are the loser for their political gamesmanship.
They are saying it’s not an attack on the Italian community but it is, so keep that Columbus school book lesson. It’s an attack on the Italian Community feeding on a greater broad sentiment, systemic racism.
Just remember, you can’t ask for unity against systemic racism while being systemic in racism. There is no doubt the Columbus is being used and misrepresented as white supremacy and racism in this country. How is that justice or calling for unity?
Like Columbus’ history, we know Columbus’s voyage and history stem’s from the ancestors of the Latino race, We also know every nation, race, religion has such unsavory history including the Native Indian as Columbus. We also know Colonization brought a Democratic-Republic. We also know that colonization brought religion and the freedom to exercise it. We also know Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Catholicism have their very own atrocious history. Are those same protestors calling for the removal of Columbus protestors asking to close down the churches and mosques? If you preach or protesting fairness and equality you have to be fair and equal.
So when a group with political agendas cherry-pick the history to oppression a race, religion, or group there are people who identify with that group that become innocent victims too.
This is not and attach, well it is, just no more of than of an attack on the history of Columbus.
It true doubt Colombus went down as the greatest murderer, rapist in history. At least not real or accurate history.
That is fair and equal.
P.S Don’t forget in your books you’ll (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Catholicism,) pray to the same God. JS
BAM! I’M OUT HERE. 🙂
P.S Hey Beijing, I am willing to play ball. 🙂
think about it. 🙂
“City lawyer: Ganim can keep Columbus in storage for safety”
Brian Lockhart Sep. 5, 2020 Updated: Sep. 5, 2020 8:03 p.m.