Over the last few days, Philadelphians have debated the legacy of the once much-loved musician Kate Smith, whose likeness — until recently — stood outside of the Flyers’ arenas for decades. After it resurfaced that she sang two racist songs, Flyers management covered up the statue. Then, they removed the statue from public view and stopped playing her famous rendition of “God Bless America.”
Americans are no strangers to statue controversies, with the ongoing debate about what to do with monuments honoring Confederate figures. Some cities and states, such as Baltimoreand Tennessee, have removedstatues. A statue of Johnny Cash is even slated to replace a Confederate figure on Capitol Hill. One county in Georgia recently voted to add a plaqueproviding greater context about the racist legacies evoked by a statue. But hundreds still remain. In Philadelphia, we have debated what to do with the statue of late Mayor Frank Rizzo, which remains located across the street from City Hall and has drawn criticism over his legacy on race.