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Boston voters could get to voice opinion on renaming Dudley Square as Nubian Square

The City Council on Wednesday will consider a proposal for a non-binding ballot question this November to stop honoring a Roxbury native who became a colonial governor.

The City Clerk's office says the proposal has enough signatures - ten, starting with former City Councilor Chuck Turner - to be placed on the ballot if the City Council and Mayor Walsh agree. If the council follows its typical course of action on proposals, it will first assign the proposal to a committee for study before a formal council vote.

The Nubian Square Coalition - which also wants to rename the Dudley T station - says it's time to "stop honoring a scarred past" that included legal slave owning in Massachusetts during the tenure of Gov. Joseph Dudley.

Last year, the Bay State Banner, which serves Boston's black community, however, came out against the idea, saying that slaves were far more important to the ancient Nubian civilization than they ever were in Massachusetts and that the Nubians' descendants in the Sudan hardly have a good human-rights record.

The council's regular meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.

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Comments

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Voting closed 27

It used to be a bunch of stores sprinkled around the Berry , Nubian Notions I think.

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Voting closed 2

We were looking for a nubian square.

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When he was born!!!

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I'll wait.

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Voting closed 62

What is this 8th grade history class and you’re the sketchy weirdo in the back who eats his boogers

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Voting closed 52

My nominee for worst comment of the year

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Voting closed 39

^ My nominee for least likely to have ever touched a boob ^

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Voting closed 24

That's the end result of that argument line?

Brilliant.

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Voting closed 31

But it does put the damper on feel-good agitations to decolonize X by renaming it to Y when you discover that Y may not be guilty of participating in the particular form of slave trade you object to in the first place but is probably a party to some other sin of comparable magnitude.

People who like to be edgy and antiestabloshment with their Che Guevara tshirts come to mind. No, the man wasn't an evil capitalist, he was a murderous communist instead.

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Voting closed 2

I found a comic strip about you.

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Voting closed 5

Did I know what that was before I clicked on it?

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But it does put the damper on feel-good agitations to decolonize X by renaming it to Y

Ah, so it was ill-thought out and mostly irrelevant. Got it.

People who like to be edgy and antiestabloshment with their Che Guevara tshirts come to mind. No, the man wasn't an evil capitalist, he was a murderous communist instead.

Boy am I glad you got that off your chest.

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I don't understand why that has any bearing on renaming a square. Do you think that slavery being widespread makes it good? Do you feel the same way about spouse beating or clerical pederasty?

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Voting closed 13

100 years ago Dudley Square was full of brewery workers from central Europe.
10 years from now Dudley Square could be full of Vietnamese people.
100 years from now Dudley square may be full of New Zealanders.

Do we really have to play the whole Maoist erase/shame history game to appease whatever the ethnic identity politics du jour are?

Can't we name new things after current residents and leave old names on old things such that future generations can look back and see how a neighborhood changed through different eras with each having names/landmarks of and relevant to that era? Constantly erasing history because someone finds it upsetting or offensive makes it impossible to learn from that history to not repeat its mistakes.

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Voting closed 141

Constantly erasing history because someone finds it upsetting or offensive makes it impossible to learn from that history to not repeat its mistakes.

Riiiiight... Because the only way we can remember history is by naming or continuing to name places after problematic people.

Newsflash: Changing the name of a landmark, location, etc doesn't automatically remove that place's namesake from the history books. It just means we cease to honor the namesake, while still leaving plenty of room to teach about them.

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Voting closed 23

I haven't seen anything saying that Dudley owned slaves, or did anything to promote slavery. It seems like an extreme step to rename anything that has the name of someone who lived during the slaving period. I would call it attempting to erase history. If Dudley was prominent in the slave trade, maybe, but even that's a slippery slope. Should we remove the names of Washington and Jefferson?

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Voting closed 58

Every single person on Earth has made a mistake. Everyone alive in the 1700's lived in a different context then the world of activists in 2019.

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Voting closed 48

You're absolutely correct. And aren't we lucky.

Some people alive in the 1700s were treated as chattel property.

Others perpetuated, supported, or were ambivalent to the systems that allowed those practices to thrive.

But to say "Lots of white folks owned other people, or made it possible for others to own people, but that's ok, because it was a different era" is the height of retrograde moral relativism.

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Voting closed 8

Newsflash: most people living around and passing through Dudley Square have no clue who "Dudley" is, and don't care. Some rich person from a long time ago.

If anything in Boston needs renaming, it's Christopher Columbus park. People know that name.

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Voting closed 18

Get used to it.

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Voting closed 12

Legislator 1: What time do you think we ought to break for lunch?

Legislator 2: Gee Bob, that's kind of a controversial question, and somebody somewhere might not like the way I vote on it. Let's duck our jobs put it on the ballot and let the people decide!

Legislators 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: Awesome!

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Voting closed 9

Leave the name alone. How do they come up with this stuff? If it does make it to the ballot a resounding No vote will follow.

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Voting closed 43

I believe it is now called "Dudley Square" because the MTA placed an elevated train station there, named after the crossing street that already existed. (Similar story to how Kenmore Square got its name.)

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It took me awhile to figure out that Dudley Square and Dutt-ly Square were one and the same.

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Isn't Nubia on the other side of the African continent from where slaves were taken to the American colonies? Pretty sure that west Africans are no more closely related to Nubians than they are to Europeans or Asians. Calling it Khmer square or Minoan square would make about as much sense. Maybe Beninese Square?

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Voting closed 15

And liberals, before you get your undies in a twist, I consider myself a liberal as well.

The answer isn't to erase history. And it's not to turn the field of landmarks and memorials into a zero sum game.

Invest in parks and statues honoring your heroes and heroines. Or HerX if you need to be gender neutral. Use it as a teaching moment to educate the public on other aspect of our history.

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Voting closed 37

20 years from now, when our friends in the south and midwest decide they no longer want a Trump Elementary School or Jared and Ivanka International Airport, they should keep them? Asking for a friend

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I'm ambivalent about this particular, Dudley, name change. But damn... you just made me realize that there could be an aircraft carrier named for Trump. Bad enough we have the Reagan.

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What's ridiculous is an aircraft carrier named after Gerald Ford, and a lousy submarine named after Jimmy Carter.

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And subs sorta look like gray peanuts if u squint with one eye? ;)

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was an early nuclear submarine engineer. Ford volunteered for the Navy after Pearl Harbor, started out as a flight instructor, and ended up doing active combat duty in the Pacific on an aircraft carrier.

Reagan stayed stateside during the war working on propaganda films. Trump was a cowardly rich-kid draft dodger.

Who do you want to name military vessels for, again?

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Voting closed 45

Activists in the Cambodian-American community want to rename Roberto Clemente Park to Pailin Park. Puerto Rican residents were not thrilled by the proposal. It now looks like the city may rename another park, which is not currently named for anyone, for Clemente.

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Video captions from Wednesday 24 April 2019 Public Meeting of Boston City Council... Scroll to bottom at https://www.boston.gov/public-notices/53521

City Council President failed to make available for hard of hearing folks, for all folks the withheld Stenographic Record of Public Meetings of City Council, a more complete Document than Minutes, more accurate than erroneous video captions.

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Voting closed 3

Somehow you managed to make the worst comment on this post even though it was a hotly contested battle.

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If you name something just because you think it sounds cool.?
I'd vote to leave it as Dudley but won't lose any sleep if it changes,

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Voting closed 13

The MBTA should take the first step and rename Dudley terminal followed up by the renaming of several stations named after slave masters. They should also remove the offensive seal of the commonwealth depicting a peaceful Indian underneath a white arm brandishing a saber from their police uniforms.

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Voting closed 3

Regardless of what the guy did or did not stand for, why would they want one of the main commercial and local govt areas of this neighborhood named after a white guy? No white people live in this neighborhood and only a few go there. You don’t see whites changing the names of stuff in their neighborhoods to honor black people (actually you do a little, but put aside white ethnomasochism and bear with me, haha).

So to all posters who are going to point out Nubian slaves or some other double standard: don’t bother arguing with the stated reasoning of Chuck Turner et al because everyone involved also knows that race is the reason. The Roxbury city council is being courteous by saying it’s not about Dudley’s race since they don’t want to insult the whites. I would accept their offer of good faith and leave them alone and let them rename something in their own neighborhood.

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And there is no Roxbury city concil.

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Voting closed 51

You said: "No white people live in this neighborhood and only a few go there. " That was maybe true a decade ago but it isn't anymore.

Also, why name a square after a retail store that is no longer there? If you're going to rename the place, why not pick a new person of significance to the neighborhood?

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Voting closed 20

Don't forget until White Flight in the 1960s.. Roxbury and Dot were predominately white.

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That prior to the blockbusting in the 60s, the area around Dudley, Grove Hall, and Upham's Corner was a primarily Jewish neighborhood. They used to call it Jew Hill instead of Blue Hill.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/what-happened-to-the-jews-of-bostons-jew-h...

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Voting closed 6

If you are, it wasn't named for the store. If you're talking about some other square, never mind.

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which used to be in Dudley Square

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seems like the people who live there should really ultimately get to decide what it's called. if a primarily black neighborhood wants to de-legitimize another colonizer and rename it to something that honors the population, that's really just the business of the people who live there. they can vote for it or not. if the neighbors all got together and decided they wanted to vote and rename it "Bring back the EL Square," or even "Fuck Gentrification Square," seems like that's their decision as well.

Not my home, not my business, which makes it weird you have all these conservatives in the comments shitting all over the idea. But I guess even up here in the north the right's decided to give up on that whole "small government, self-governance, my life my decisions" cover story. funny how many hackles get raised when you consider banishing some random white guy to the history bin (really, we have a lot of Joseph Dudley fans here? Can anyone actually explain anything of relevance this guy did?), but the continuous ongoing erasure of the accomplishments of PoC and Women is a-okay. real subtle, guys.

the only tricky logistical thing is the bus stop, since that's MBTA (State) property and the city council has no say. I don't anticipate MBTA playing ball, that's a lot of new signage.

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Voting closed 12

affects a lot of people besides those who live within a few blocks of that place. You allude to that already with your last paragraph about the MBTA. Also, it's not clear that this organization actually represents the people who live in the neighborhood.

And if you're going to rename the place, why not rename it after an actual person of relevance to the neighborhood, rather than after a defunct retail store? Perhaps, Elma Lewis?

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Voting closed 5

pretending "well we should keep the name because other people will get confused" when it's been HOW long and people STILL give directions using "take 128 south" ... ?

this is boston. people will call it what they want to. let the neighbors have their say.

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Voting closed 1

As a white person who lives in that neighborhood I can definitively say you have no idea what you are talking about.

Maybe you should come visit Roxbury sometime, I’d be happy to show you around so you can see it’s not what you imagine.

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Voting closed 38

That’s fair but you will have to promise me you won’t take me to Stash’s.

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Trust me, if there’s a place to avoid it isn’t Stash’s, it’s the Chinese place that keeps getting shut down for health violations.

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Voting closed 11

Is this satire?

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Voting closed 12

That is an impressively dumb comment. I mean, the objectively wrong parts about the neighborhood's racial makeup and the "Roxbury city council" are enough to make any thinking person ignore you as an idiot, but the part about "white ethnomasochism" (way to turn a phrase!) really puts it over the top as so impressively idiotic that I'm starting to wonder if it's intentional.

All to say: if you want people to take you seriously, you should consider talking less.

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Voting closed 13

Listen erikg, you are a poster with some seniority here, respected by Adam (and me), and your posting voice pretty much acts as the male counterpart to SwirlyGrrl, another highly respected poster..... so I am only going to tell you this one time.... I am a very busy man and don’t have time for quibbling over details available in the public domain about whether a Roxbury city council exists, sweeping statements, or word usage. I put that post up hours ago and am now thinking about new topics and new posts. I have many original ideas I have to get to and can’t be bothered unless you have a real comment on the central thesis.

Alternatively, you are welcome to email me privately a revised draft of my OP and I will consider reposting but it will have to wait until tonight when I log into Universal Hub and have a quiet moment to review. Too busy right now.

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Voting closed 1

Still can't tell if serious or troll/bad attempt at satire.

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Voting closed 11

so I am only going to tell you this one time

lol ok dad

You're hilarious, dude.

(that WAS intentional, right?)

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Voting closed 9

Who has enough time to reply to posts, but not worry about getting my original posts correct.

Troll.

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Voting closed 5

Let’s not quibble over details.

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For instance, after Occupy Boston, it seemed a really good idea to re-dedicate "Dewey Sq." as "Gandhi Sq.".

Given the tradition of protest and dissent, the historic value given revolutionary figures and ideas, it is worth commemorating all this in Boston.
One can often find Boston being mentioned in the history books regarding reformation, revolution, and their leaders, many of whom spent some time in Boston (including Mohandas K. Gandhi, and Martin Luther King).

(But, there's another Boston tradition too.

It's turning a deaf-ear to the same movements and turning them away to some other part of the country or the world. Hence, it is likely that another city will see the opportunity to recognize the value of Non-violent, Non-cooperative, social political activism.)

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Voting closed 3

The University of Ghana removed a statue of Gandhi because they claim Gandhi was a racist and didn't deserve a monument in his honor.

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Rename all stretch and placenta me with random alphanumeric strings of characters and grid location suffixes.

Much better!

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Voting closed 3

Why not William Harvey Carney square?

He was the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor as part of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Or Edward G. Walker Square?
John Coburn Square?
George Middleton Square?
Phillis Wheatley Square?
Dr John Swett Rock Square?
Dr Rebecca Lee Crumpler Square?
John J. Smith Square?
Harriet Hayden Square?
Lavinia Ames Hilton Square?
Elizabeth Freeman (MumBet) Square?
Sojourner Truth Square?
Crispus Attucks Square?
Quock Walker Square?
Maria W. Stewart Square?
William Cooper Nell Square?

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Voting closed 6

because those are all actual people. The best choices would be those who actually lived in the Roxbury neighborhood at one time (which is why I suggested Elma Lewis)

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Voting closed 5

White people HATE when black people love themselves. Only a white person wouldn't be in favor of renaming Dudley Square. It's hilarious. You all think because other places have slavery black Americans should be forced to accept and celebrate hat past. You're all sick in the head. Mind yall business and stop the subtle classic boston racism.

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Voting closed 4

You know, the ones who wrote the editorial in the Bay State Banner against changing the name, about whether only whites would oppose the change.

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Voting closed 8

Vote No on Nubian Square.

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With every white non profit in this city -how do you think they've been running a free news paper for 54 years? They show bro liberal bs because they got white centrist funding them, duh.

Spend some more time in nubian square and you might would know that.

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Voting closed 1

Stop naming places after people of any kind.

For example, Millennium Park is a nice community asset where kids can play soccer and people roller blade and walk their dogs. The name is anodyne. Pope John Paul II park is the same kind of place only to some, the name commemorates the leader of the Catholic Church during a time when it propagated irreparable evil in our city. See? No-one is ever going to agitate to rename Millennium unless it's for the purpose of naming it after some political figure like say, Menino.

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Where everything has to have a name....

Parks. Intersections, Interchanges, Tunnels, Squares....

you name it. It has to be named for SOMEBODY.

I mean what would our politicians do otherwise in their spare time if they weren't worrying about naming things? /snark

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Voting closed 2

next to Spaulding Rehab Hospital in Charlestown.

(A lot of us learned about this for the first time after a petition circulated to rename Christopher Columbus Park to Menino Park after he died. I signed that, then learned that it couldn't be done for this reason.)

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> No white people live in this neighborhood
> Only a white person wouldn't be in favor of renaming Dudley Square

What do these comments have in common?

They are both incorrect. And look fairly racist.

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Voting closed 3

Someone has been hanging signs around the area with the “Nubian Square” logo. It makes me think of real estate agents trying to rebrand an area.

Props to Adam, who is one of Boston's best reporters in my opinion. He correctly knew about that editorial in the Banner. When I started to read this post, I wanted to be the first one to point that out. But Adam already knew about it.

I live near Dudley Square. Seems silly for it to be a ballet question for voters in other parts of the city. I don't have any problems renaming it. I like the suggestions about renaming it to something like “Emma Lewis”. Even if it does get renamed you know people will keep using the old name for a long time.

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Voting closed 2

not Emma

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can be renamed after peoples of other parts of the world (i.e. Irish Square, Jewish Square, Spanish Square, Russian Square, etc.). And when the demographics of a neighborhood change then the names of its square(s) can be changed to reflect the new majority racial makeup of that area. We'll be changing the names of squares every 50 years.

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from February 2018: A misguided effort to rename Dudley Sq. ‘Nubian Sq.'

Adam, can you link to this editorial, which you mentioned in your post?

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Voting closed 2