Monday, February 19, 2018

Remember that bust of President Lincoln

Speaking of Englewood remember that Lincoln bust that was in Englewood that made national attention last year. Even shared a segment to Tucker Carlson Tonight on FOX News which I will also show here. [VIDEO]
Locally Ald. Raymond Lopez (Ward 15) brought the apparent vandalism of that Lincoln bust to the world's attention last year formerly located at the corner of 69th & Wolcott and lamented this act. Back in 2009, I had shared a basic history of this bust which at one point was near a business specifically a gas station. Though now, there isn't a business on that corner that could protect and care for this landmark.

Lately, the Chicago Tribune has an update on this bust which after the vandalism was removed by the city for safekeeping.
Here’s what happened: The bust of Lincoln was removed last August by the Chicago Department of Transportation, at the request of Ald. Ray Lopez of the 15th Ward. Though the statue is located in the 17th Ward, Lopez said he stepped in “only after it became obvious that nobody but myself was concerned about the health of this statue.” (The 17th Ward alderman, David Moore, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

Lopez contacted the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which contacted CDOT for removal. He said he became concerned after the statue was vandalized twice last August: A resident called to say the statue was painted black; soon after, it was set on fire. (Lopez said the vandals used tar and roofing paper.) “It was around the time of the Charlottesville (Va. white nationalist) marches. A lot of hate-filled things were said, and I’ll be the first to admit this statue had seen a lot of wear and tear — of youthful indiscretions — but two acts to happen about that same time? It just felt like something else happening.”

He offered no evidence of who might have vandalized the statue, and though no one has since been arrested for the vandalism, or claimed responsibility, Lopez noted that nearby Marquette Park had been a stronghold for Illinois Nazis. He wasn’t comfortable leaving the statue on 69th, vulnerable to more attacks. He told the Chicago Sun-Times in August that President Donald Trump’s (widely condemned) response to the violence in Charlottesville had emboldened white supremacists; Lopez sent a letter to Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Mark Kelly, concerned that, as left-leaning groups called for the removal of Confederate statues, right-leaning groups could seek revenge on monuments to the Great Emancipator. Soon after, the bust at the corner of 69th and Wolcott was removed, without ceremony or a timeline for when or if it might be returned.
This is a pretty good and long article. It further discusses the history and who placed this bust on 69th Street. It also illustrated the changes in the neighborhood over the years with "white flight" to it's current status today. If anyone is expecting the bust to come back to its original location got some bad news for you.
The statue will never return to 69th and Wolcott.

Its eventual home is the West Englewood Library.

Should you care to remember Philip Bloomquist’s legacy the way it was, before its eyes were blackened and body scarred, visit 69th and Wolcott on Google Maps. An old street-view image is still there, the bust cracked and ghostly. “This doesn’t need to be a loss,” said Vergara. “Maybe what comes out of everything is a new memorial. Let the neighborhood replace its Lincoln, with something that lends an identity, and gives that corner a new meaning. Then the story continues, and Lincoln was never lost at all.”
Lincoln will remain in the Englewood community as for that now vacant spot where his bust now stood, there's an opportunity. If the community want another work of art at that location what should it be. Could be reflective of the people who live there or their historic figures? Better yet perhaps we can create a sculpture of Black Panther and strive to make that area a real life version of Wakanda.

Here's a street view of the bust where it once stood.

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