Board right to remove statue

It had sat in front of the lightkeeper’s house at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse for years.

And it had been wrong for years.

It was a lawn jockey statue, a small Black man with large eyes and large lips, in the style of minstrel shows of the distant past.

Some say the lawn jockeys played a role in the underground railroad, News staff writer Temi Fadayomi reported in a recent story.

Others say George Washington commissioned the first lawn jockey to pay tribute to a Black boy who froze to death assisting Washington in the Revolutionary War.

David Pilgram, founder of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University, said there’s little historical evidence to support those claims.

The statue apparently is nothing more than another symbol from America’s racist past.

The Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees, which oversees the lighthouse park, voted unanimously to remove the statue after hearing from residents opposed to its placement in the park.

The board was right to do so.

Our lighthouses are one of Northeast Michigan’s biggest treasures, and they should be places welcoming to all who want to visit.

A racist symbol could only offend and possibly hurt some of our visitors, and it has no place at our lighthouse.

We’re glad the board agreed to remove the statute, and we support those who say it should be donated to the Jim Crow Museum.


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