Savannah District 2 Assembly 0

Petition to The City of Savannah to Retain the Name of Calhoun Square

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This petition is being launched by neighbors of Calhoun Square and other citizens of Savannah based on the following considerations:

  • Although it is true that John C. Calhoun, like many others in the South, was a slave owner and proponent of slavery, the square was not named for him for that reason but to honor his many contributions to this young nation as they appeared at that specific time in history. Since the square is located in the Historic Landmark District, the historic context of the naming should factor into any decision on retaining the name.
  • One reason being presented for renaming the square is that it is the site of a slave burial ground. However, City of Savannah documents reveal that Calhoun Square is not and never was a burial ground for enslaved people. See documentation here:
  • Changing the name would remove an opportunity to educate residents and visitors about the culture of the time and teach about the history and struggles of this dark period of slavery. History is what it is and should not be ignored no matter how ugly. It is counterproductive to try and sweep history under the rug by changing names and eliminating statues that reflect a different period in our long struggle toward true equality.
  • Changing the name of the square would ignore the historic context of The City of Savannah and the reasons Calhoun was honored as the namesake. It would be similar to the City mandating that all historic homes have energy efficient windows because of climate change concerns rather than maintaining the historic look and feel of the place.
  • Changing the name of the square would cause unnecessary hardship in rewriting public documents that bear the name.

We therefore sign this petition to the City of Savannah to retain the name of Calhoun Square and, if desired, to erect a plaque on the site to provide context.

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