In the latest action aimed at purging the symbols of racial intolerance and exclusion from America’s public spaces, protesters demonstrated along Fitler Square’s Taney Street on Saturday, calling on officials to rename it for someone who has united the nation rather than divided it.
The Philadelphia street, which is in a number of city neighborhoods, is named for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, the principal author of the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford decision of 1857, which held that Africans, whether enslaved or free, had no standing in court because they were not and could not be U.S. citizens.
“This grew out of a recognition that a lot needs to change in our society,” said protester Ben Keys, 40, a Taney Street resident and Wharton associate professor. “Culture needs to change as well as policies to make things more racially inclusive and make everyone in our communities feel welcome.”
About 40 people took part in the peaceful protest that started at Markward Playground.
“The Mayor supports the effort to rename Taney Street,” a spokesperson for the city said. “Renaming requires City Council to introduce and pass an ordinance; the Mayor is not able to do this unilaterally.”