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Advocacy group calls for exhibit on slavery to be moved from Faneuil Hall, named for a slaveowner

Advocacy group calls for exhibit on slavery to be moved from Faneuil Hall
Advocacy group calls for exhibit on slavery to be moved from Faneuil Hall 01:51

BOSTON - A new exhibit is set to officially open at Faneuil Hall on Friday but a local advocacy group is protesting the event, citing an inappropriate location for the exhibit.

The exhibit takes visitors through the history of slavery in Boston.  

"It's a total contradiction," said Reverend Kevin Peterson, the founder of civic and racial justice advocacy group the New Democracy Coalition, who is calling for the exhibit to close or relocate.

"We believe an exhibit such as this is appropriate although we totally disagree with the fact that this exhibit around slavery or enslavement in Boston is being held at a place built and supported by a slave owner, Peter Faneuil," said Peterson.

The National Parks Service in charge of operations at Faneuil Hall described Peter Faneuil's impact on slavery in Boston, writing in part, "Faneuil himself owned enslaved people of African descent in his household... and his capital directly funded several voyages to purchase enslaved Africans off the coast of Sierra Leone."

Peterson calling the exhibit and Peter Faneuil himself a painful piece of Boston history.

"We ask the mayor to not hold this slavery show until there is a process to rename the building," said Peterson.

Peterson protested the name of one of Boston's busiest tourist destinations in the past, though the name still remains as a memorial to the city's complicated history.

"The reason the exhibit is in Faneuil Hall is because a lot of artifacts, particularly those things connected to the sugar trade, were found right there in the mud at Faneuil Hall," said Reverend Mariama White-Hammon, with Boston's Office of Historic Preservation. White-Hammond said the exhibit's location serves a significant purpose.

"People know a lot about our abolition history but they don't know enough about how complicit Boston was in the slave trade and that complicity was right there at Faneuil Hall," said White-Hammond 

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