Philadelphia residents have launched a petition for the removal of former Supreme Court chief justice Roger Taney’s name on the street that is named after him. The street runs through Fitler Square, Fairmount and up to Brewerytown.

Filter Square Neighbors has organized the campaign. They say that street names should be changed “to honor someone who has united the country rather than divided it, and who recognizes the contributions of all Americans.”

A rally at Markwand Park was organized on Saturday to bring awareness to the petition.

The street was named in 1858. Taney was criticized for writing the majority opinion in the Dred Scott v. Stanford case. It held that African Americans were not citizens, even if they were free, so they held no standing in court.

The movement comes from actions taken by city residents and officials to reassess statues, monuments and murals honoring controversial figures in Philadelphia. The movement, however, is not just limited to Philadelphia. Baltimore and Annapolis, Maryland have removed statues of the former Supreme Court Justice and other states have assessed their controversial figures.

According Philly Voice, a statue paying tribute to former Philly Mayor Frank Rizzo and a mural honoring the former mayor and police commissioner were taken down earlier this month as well.

“While these are symbolic actions, they strongly demonstrate that our city has the potential to evolve into one where everyone feels they are not only welcome but valued,” the petition organizers wrote.


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