The Borough of Conshohocken sold Leeland Mansion in 2017 and since the sale, a Columbus statue (maybe marker is more appropriate) that once made it home in the front yard of the mansion has sat in the back of a public works parking lot. It is currently being used to hold up a rake.
The statue/marker was donated to the borough by the Italian American Community in 1970.
We were surprised on Friday when the Borough of Conshohocken used its social media accounts to wish the community a “Happy Columbus Day” when announcing the municipal government would be closed and there would be no trash collection. The Borough of West Conshohocken, Plymouth Township, and Whitemarsh Township, do not take off for the holiday.
Conshohocken isn’t as woke as we thought.
Columbus has become a central figure in the debate on reexamining history. Should he be remembered for journeying into the unknown and kicking of the discovery of the Americas or as someone whose actions led to a genocide?
The Sopranos addressed the issue in a 2002 episode. Some members of the family are adamantly supportive, some are indifferent, and the only native Italian of the group hates Columbus because southern Italians feel slighted by the richer northern Italians of which Columbus came.
Neil deGrasse Tyson has an interesting take on Columbus. He believes that Columbus initiated the most significant event for the human species. Tyson explained on the “Joe Rogan Experience” that since the land bridge disappeared between North America and Asia, the populations of Europe, Africa, and Asia, had continued without knowledge of the Americas and vice versa. This separation could have led to the development of two species of humans (if it had continued) and the discovery of the Americas led to a reunification of the species.
So what should happen to Conshohocken’s statue?
We don’t feel that the borough needs to display the statue in a public space, but it should at least be given to one of the several Italian-American clubs in the area (if they want it).
Let us know what you think in the comments.
The Take is going to be a series of columns that report while offering an opinion.