"The will of an oppressed people, compelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be obeyed."
Those are the words of Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery, for whom the City of Montgomery, Alabama, is named.
City officials plan to install a statue of him, and another of Rosa Parks, in the small triangular park at the foot of Dexter Avenue. But there's a problem. Montgomery, and almost all of the general officers fighting the British in the colonies, owned slaves.
General Montgomery apparently didn't see the now-obvious hypocrisy of his words.
|A sign near the little park, acknowledging The city's slave past.|
Now a local tour guide wants the city to reverse course and eliminate the Montgomery statue.
Michelle Browder made her argument before a city council meeting a few weeks ago.
One question I would ask is whether the actual name of the city should also be changed, since it was named in honor of him. And what would be an appropriate replacement name?
Parksville or Rosaville (for Rosa Parks)
The Emory City (for the former longtime Mayor)
Alvintown (for former longtime Montgomery Legislator Holmes)
*Bryanville (for EJI head Bryan Stevenson)
Hankville (for Hank, of course)
MLKville (or any of his single names, like Luthertown or Kingville) for the Rev., of course)
Or Georgetown or Wallaceville, for, well, you know.
or Lewistown, for Joseph L. Lewis, born in Montgomery but who you probably don't know.
*Of course we might restrict the potential names to people who have passed on, like the rule about postage stamps and currency.