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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A Boston community activist says that he's moving forward with his proposal to change the name of Faneuil Hall due to the fact that its namesake, Peter Faneuil, owned and traded slaves.
Kevin Peterson of the Boston Mountaintop Committee told WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe he wants the building's name changed to Crispus Attucks Hall.
Attucks, an African-American sailor from Framingham, is widely recognized as the first person to die in the American Revolution. He was killed by British soldiers in the Boston Massacre, which took place around the corner from Faneuil Hall in front of the Boston Custom House in 1770.
"We're getting grass-roots support from the neighborhoods, who understand that changing the name, however symbolic, it leads us toward having deep dialogue around the importance of diversity in the city," Peterson said. "We are picking up support from Boston schoolteachers, young people, people in the entertainment industry. We are not going to give up on this. This is important."
Peterson said the Boston City Council has agreed to hold a hearing on the matter in May or June, despite the fact that Mayor Marty Walsh is pushing back on the name change.
Walsh said he does not approve of the proposal because, in 30 years, no one would know why they did it.
Instead, he said he'd like to see the city figure out a way to acknowledge its painful history so that people can fully understand it.
"The mayor has pushed back against changing the name," Peterson said. "He believes that we may be rewriting history as we change the name, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We're simply trying to add to the complexity and the richness of the city by perhaps renaming Faneuil Hall to Crispus Attucks Hall."
"We should not have a public building such as Faneuil Hall named after a slave owner," he added. "We should have a public building reflecting the best of who we are as Bostonians."
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports