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Move on to change name of road in the Arboretum that now honors a man with ties to slavery

Jamaica Plain News reports on efforts to rename Bussey Street, which splits the two main halves of the Arnold Arboretum and which is named for the man whose estate eventually became the arboretum, which he assembled in part on profits from businesses that profited from slavery.

Proponent on both the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale sides of the street have came up with five people whose names could be used to replace Bussey's - who would continue to be memorialized in the name of the brook that flows through the Arboretum: Three people who were held as slaves in the area - Cuffe, Dick Welsh and Flora - 19th-century feminist and Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller and Shiu-Ying Hu, a Chinese native who became a research at the Arboretum, who focused on both the flora and rural poor of China.

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Comments

The name shows up in both Bussey Brook and Bussey Hill, in addition to Bussey Road.

Apparently the hill was previously called Weld Hill. Are they considering maybe changing the name back to that, or leaving it with the current name?

https://arboretum.harvard.edu/stories/benjamin-bussey-woodland-hill-and-...

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Arnold would only contribute his land if they named the entire park after him. F that bozo.

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I don't know, we apparently need to thoroughly vet the Weld family before we do that.
Luckily, it looks like Mr. Arnold's name is in the clear. He assisted with the Underground Railroad.

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“Slavery in Jamaica Plain” has some insight.
https://www.jphs.org/latest-items/slavery-in-jamaica-plain-6agl9

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Maybe we could just make the information available that this person had ties to slavery. If we are going to rename things named after people associated with slavery, we are going to have to rename everything called "Washington" and "Jefferson" as well. And why stop at slavery? What if they were associated with other immoral things? Kennedy cheated on his wife...is that bad enough?
I think it is better for people to learn about the past than to try to erase it.

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Learn about Bussey all you want. Nobody's stopping you or anyone else.

We don't have to honor them by keeping their names on things when other names are perfectly suitable too (and don't have the extra baggage).

And if you can't grasp how being a President might outweigh being a slave owner or adulterer in terms of why it might be worth honoring them with things like schools or roads as opposed to "the guy that used to own this land"...well, you'll have to work through that one on your own. These aren't absolutist definitions of a person's worth as an honoree and tomorrow the line may shift and we'll rename all the Washington Streets in the city (hopefully to different names for each one).

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Washington street, the tiny Jefferson st., Madison st., obviously. Jackson Square?

Revere st. https://www.wgbh.org/news/local/2023-07-19/paul-revere-never-owned-slave...

Forbes St. -- Mr. Triangle Trade and China opium barges. His g-g-grandson John Kerry obviously benefitted, so no honorifics or memorials for him, either.

Stoughton Street - he was a Salem Witch Trial judge.

Winthrop st, Winslow st., Standish st. - prosecuted war against freedom fighter Metacom.

Amherst and any Amherst St. - we all know the biowarfare story

Anyone who traded in cotton fabric in the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, anything named Lowell.

Kennedys - they treated some women poorly.

I'm sure if we dig, we can change the names of most streets and squares in Boston

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I'm sure if we dig, we can change the names of most streets and squares in Boston

LET’S GOOOOOO!!!!

And Don’t forget the Winthrops and the Winslows were prolific slaveholders, too.

While my comment about changing all the names is half in jest—and we know it will never happen—people are focusing more on what’s being removed and not celebrating the names that are becoming visible in our landscape.

It’s been pointed out that Bussey Brook and Bussey Hill will remain. In order to make room for any of the people named to honored through a landmark, a name is going to be changed. Certain people are over represented in place names anyway.

Boston had FIVE Washington Streets; we could safely rename three of them without doing damage to GW’s place in history. At least one of those Washington Streets could be named for Ona Judge.

Names of things change all the time. There’s enough stuff names for Jefferson and Madison nationwide, if local residents wanted to change the names of Jefferson and Madison-related landmarks to the names of local heroes, that would be great!

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I'm not sure anyone, especially not historical figures who lived under different societal norms, could pass muster today. I mean, even Mother Teresa is objectionable to some people (Christopher Hitchens, for one). Best to avoid potential controversy and stick to improper nouns.

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John Singleton Copley's parents were tobacco traders entwined in slavery and they subsidized his early years, so Copley Square's gotta go

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I'm too locked into Copley to change it, but I think Fenway would be OK. Though all the old British names (Kilmarnock, Peterborough, etc.) might very well be problematic on some level.

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How about, instead of going through the rigamarole of finding a new name, we just close the road entirely. The road forms a formidable barrier, splitting the park in two, creating a disconnect for park users. Closing it seems like the best course of action, uniting the two halves of the park.

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The city might someday close it to car traffic, but I doubt they will rip up all of the asphalt and just absorb it into the Arboretum. As a pedestrian and bike path, it will still need a name. I'm fine with all the ones proposed. Bussey's name can stay on the brook and the hill.

This is easier than most renamings because no homes or businesses abut the road.

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Even old New York was once New Amsterdam.

Why did Constantinople get the works?

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But the Turks may have liked it better that way.

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Completely flips the script. See Urban Dictionary at your own risk.

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.

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Name it a after Gary. Problem solved /s

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Makes a humorous combination.

If these people pushing name changes lived in the past they'd be no different than those living in that period. It makes people feel superior to say otherwise though.

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