BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The center of O’Donnell Square Park is now the center of controversy as an online petition calling for the removal of the statue depicting former slave owner, and founder of Canton, Capt. John O’Donnell, quickly gains traction.
“It’s a symbol of oppression and it doesn’t reflect the values of this community,” said Sheila Anderson, Canton resident.
Yet some said they would like to see the statue stay.
“It’s just always been a part of the park there and I think it’s more effort than it needs to be to worry about taking it down,” said Reilly Baker, another Canton resident.
With much of the country grappling with a similar dilemma, the Canton Community Association brought together a diverse group of voices to look into the idea of having it removed.
“This conversation is not an attempt to forget about or erase the history of Canton,” said Mark Edelson, with CCA.
That group started the online petition to gauge community support behind removing a statue.
“As opposed to us being a community for removal or against removal, my goal is for us to be a community that’s unified behind the future of canton that we want to live in together,” Edelson said.
If it’s decided that the statue must go, they will need the help of local government officials to do so.
“We don’t have much authority, we don’t have power, all we’re trying to do is facilitate these conversations in the community and help create the best kind of neighborhood that we all want to live in,” Edelson said.
They’re not just looking at removing the statute complete they’re discussing a lot of different options. putting up a second statue, maybe of Frederick, redoing the plaque to include more information about his past.
There’s a Zoom meeting Tuesday night that community members can turn into if they want more information.