BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A local activist has gone on a hunger strike, demanding Faneuil Hall’s name be changed. This comes amid protests across the country calling for the removal of historic statues and symbols linked to racism.
New Democracy Coalition founder Kevin Peterson has gone without food since Monday, and claims there is no place in Boston for a building named after Peter Faneuil, a slave trader.
“He traded human beings for rum and money,” Peterson said. “In fact, his slave trading... allowed him to contribute Faneuil Hall to the city of Boston.”
Peterson has fought for years to have the building’s named changed.
He said he'd like if the building was, instead, named after Crispus Attucks.
"Crispus Attucks was among the first to die in what became the Revolutionary War. He was half Wampanoag Indian and half African," Peterson said. "Crispus Attucks' body was laid in state in Faneuil Hall after he was murdered. He is a true hero in our country's history."
He said the goal of this hunger strike is to “engage Mayor Marty Walsh in holding a hearing regarding changing the name.”
Mayor Walsh hasn’t provided any new comment, but previously said that if “we were to change the name of Faneuil Hall today, 30 years from now, no one would know why we did it.”
“Not many people know about the history of that man. And over the years, Faneuil Hall has become a place where good things have happened: historic speeches such as Frederick Douglas’s call for the end to slavery, the signing of forward-thinking legislations like the Affordable Care Act, and where hundreds of people take their oath of citizenship every year.”
Walsh said that what should be done instead is “figure out a way to acknowledge the history so people understand it. We can’t erase history, but we can learn from it.”
WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports