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Dominican Statue in New York under scrutiny after Charlottesville

Samuel Maxime

Editor-in-Chief

NEW YORK, New York, USA (sentinel.ht) – Following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia and the national push to remove monuments honoring former Confederate fighters of the U.S. Civil War, other statues and monuments to and of divisive figures are under review. In New York, this includes a statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, seen as a founder of the Dominican Republic, he has been called the “Father of Racism”, alleged of using anti-black (antihaitianismo) politics to establish the prevailing climate of colorism in the D.R..

A New York Post article entitled “Are these NYC statues next on the chopping block?” looked at several in the region that have been subject to criticism for being divisive and symbols of hate.

The city is searching for “symbols of hate on city property,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday, August 16, 2017. The mayor said he would eliminate any offending marker or sculpture. It was a reaction to violent protests against and for the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va.

The Post author writes that NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio’s efforts in this sense “could spiral out of control”, none the less, she didn’t point out certain monuments and statues that have been criticized by activists and persons fighting for social justice.

Juan Pablo Duarte, “Father of Racism”?

Among the targets, a statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, described as the “Father of the Dominican Republic” and located at Duarte Square, 6th Ave. and Canal St. It was erected in 1978.

The Post reads:

Duarte advocated independence for the eastern half of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which was under Haitian rule in the early 19th century. In 2007, activists in New York publicized claims that Duarte’s goal of Dominican separatism had racist roots.

Since 2005, the legacy of Duarte has been under public scrutiny for his being the “Father of Racism” in the western hemisphere according to fliers and online writings. The Dominican-American community has steadily contested these claims but a 2011 documentary by Harvard scholar, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., has put the DR’s foundation in racism in the spotlight. Furthermore, a 2013 court decision to retroactively strip citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent, dating back more than a century, has exposed the continuing struggle for racial equality and an end to colorism in that country.

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Post source : New York Post

About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.