Pennsylvania Lawmaker Urges Biden Administration To Halt Proposed Removal of William Penn Statue

Pennsylvania Lawmaker Urges Biden Administration To Halt Proposed Removal of William Penn Statue

The Biden administration’s proposal to remove a statue of William Penn in Philadelphia is sparking backlash and calls to protect the statue. 

“In the near future, I plan to introduce a resolution honoring the life and accomplishments of William Penn and encouraging the Biden administration and National Park Service to immediately halt their announced plans to permanently remove Penn’s statue from Welcome Park in Philadelphia as part of an effort to make the park more inclusive,” a Republican state Representative, Bryan Cutler, wrote in a memo issued Monday, adding that Penn was “radically inclusive” for his time. 

The National Park Service, which announced its plan to remove the statue on Friday as part of its efforts to rehabilitate the park and make it a “welcoming, accurate, and inclusive experience,” began accepting public comment on the proposal on Monday. The statue currently resides in Welcome Park, as the Sun reported, which was built in 1982 in commemoration of Pennsylvania’s 300th anniversary. 

“Welcome Park is built on the site of William Penn’s home and is named after the ship that brought him to the place that would be known as Pennsylvania – “Penn’s Woods,” Mr. Cutler wrote in his memo to lawmakers, adding that Penn was “radically inclusive” for his time. 

“The Penn Treaty was historic,” he said. “Not just in its occurrence, but in the mutual respect shown between Penn and Native tribes.”

Mr. Cutler called on his fellow representatives, “as the caretakers of Penn’s legacy” to unify in opposing the removal and “set the record straight on the legacy of William Penn.”

In a separate statement, Mr. Cutler said the decision to try to “cancel William Penn out of whole cloth” is another example of “the left in this country scraping the bottom of the barrel of wokeism to advance an extreme ideology and a nonsensical view of history.”

The issue is “deeply personal,” he said, as his family first came to Pennsylvania in 1685, just three years after Penn’s arrival. “They came to Pennsylvania because they were Quakers who shared Penn’s view of religious tolerance and peace,” Mr. Cutler said of his ancestors. 

The proposal also is sparking concerns from state senator Doug Mastriano. “NPS is removing William Penn from the small park where his house stood in the name of inclusion,” he wrote on X. “Our founder is canceled and history rewritten.”

Philadelphia Council member Mark Squilla, whose district is home to Welcome Park, plans to work with Old City District’s registered community organization “to determine their opinions,” his chief of staff, Anne Kelly King, tells the Sun, adding that his office reached out to the National Park Service on Monday upon learning of the proposal. 

The office of one Democratic member of the Philadelphia City Council contacted by the Sun refused to be quoted on the record about the statue, insisting that it was a National Park Service issue.

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