Illinois Statue Task Force Consider Adding and Removing State and Regional State Monuments
Douglas, a slave owner, served as Illinois Secretary of State, State Supreme Court Judge, and United States Senate Judge, among other roles.
Ménard, also a slave owner, was Illinois’ first lieutenant governor and supported political actions designed to ensure that slavery was legal in the state.
Representative Mary Flowers, a Democrat from Chicago who chairs the committee, suggested that the task force consider adding monuments commemorating former President Barack Obama, as well as Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor; Ida B. Wells, co-founder of the NAACP; and Rudy Lozano, a labor activist from Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood.
But Rachel Leibowitz, an assistant professor at the State University of New York, warned the task force against adding too many new monuments and figurative memorials to the Capitol grounds.
She highlighted the Texas Capitol Park, which has 22 statues, monuments or memorials.
“And, their site is physically bigger than yours with the Stratton building, so that’s just to say that there can be a lot of physical clutter on the ground,” she said.
Leibowitz said the committee might also consider moving statues or monuments from Capitol Park to another location, such as a statues room.
“I suggest this only because then the seat of the State Capitol becomes open to everyone,” Leibowitz said. “There is no one there who says, ‘I am not represented’. No one says, “I can’t see myself and my story reflects”. It’s the building, it’s the ground. It is something to consider. I’m not saying this is the solution, but I just want to offer this as a possibility. “