Clergy Members Chain Themselves to Faneuil Hall in Protest of Building's Namesake

There have been calls to rename Faneuil Hall in recent years, which is named for Peter Faneuil, a wealthy 18th-century slave owner

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Boston clergy members chained themselves to Faneuil Hall in Boston on Wednesday, calling for the building to be renamed because of the namesake’s role in the slave trade.

The historic landmark and popular tourist attraction is named for Peter Faneuil, a wealthy 18th-century slave owner. There have been calls to rename it in the past, including a suggestion to use it as a way to honor Crispus Attucks, a Black man who was killed during the Boston Massacre in 1770. Attucks is generally considered the first casualty of the American Revolution.

The clergy members say Wednesday's act of civil disobedience was aimed at raising awareness about Boston's longstanding racist culture.

"Faneuil Hall is the premiere anti-Black symbol in this city," Rev. Kevin Peterson said.

The group has held countless protests over the years, and say they're tired of not being heard by city officials, including the mayor.

"When we name something after a slave trader we are sending a message that he's a person who deserves to be celebrated."

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has stopped short of endorsing a name change in the past. IN a statement today, a spokesperson did not directly answer our questions about it. They did say, "the city is committed to advancing racial justice and learning from our past right and wrongs."

But not everyone sees the name as a problem.

"If we quickly change everything future generations will have no idea what the truth really was and what was born out of it," Boston resident Wanda Smith said.

More details were not immediately available.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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