Candidates Agree That NYC Should Rename Sites Named for Slaveholders


All five leading candidates for mayor agreed on Thursday night that New York City should consider renaming sites named for slaveholders.

“Many people are surprised to learn a number of iconic places in our city are named after individuals who held people as slaves,” said Maurice DuBois, one of the event’s moderators. “Should New Yorkers have to live on streets or go to schools or buildings named for slave holders or should those names be changed?”

Mr. DuBois referred to people like Peter Stuyvesant, a director-general of New Netherland who owned slaves. A large apartment complex on Manhattan’s East Side is named for him. Rikers Island, which houses New York City’s main jail complex, is named for Richard Riker, who sent Black Americans into slavery.

Each of the five candidates agreed that New York City should revisit such names.

“We should not honor people that have had an abusive past,” said Eric Adams, Brooklyn’s borough president.

Maya Wiley, a civil rights advocate who went on to serve as counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said that symbols mattered and these places should be renamed, but that it was also important to ensure that all of communities of color “finally get the attention, the investments and the change that they deserve.”



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