Local black man made to take his hat off

Statue of William SeymourCOLORADO SPRINGS- An early Pikes Peak Region African American settler is commemorated with a statue in downtown Colorado Springs. A plaque explains that William Seymour was one of many freed slaves who moved west after the Civil War. The statue is meant to honor all those “invisible” pioneers, ignored in the official histories of the city. What’s remarkable is that the statue of this black man is erected next to the Plaza of the Rockies, a bastion of conservative financiers.

The plaque explains a further improbability: the statue was funded by the Plaza. Otherwise known as the Booz Allen Hamilton building, the Colorado Springs home of Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney and RBC Dain Rauscher.

What caught my eye was Seymour’s fedora laying on the adjacent bench. It’s an artistic touch that blurs bronze with reality, but the metal hat also reduces the bench’s utility by half. That’s the first beef I had with it. Only one person can sit at a time to wait for the bus.

Then I pondered why Seymour’s hat was off. The gesture makes him look like a gentleman, fitting to have been the first African American to serve on an El Paso County jury. Seymour was also a founding member of a local Baptist church. Is the park bench meant to be a church pew? He’d have left his coat at the door as well.

Integrated as it is with the park bench, we have to conclude William Seymour is standing outside. We’ve encountered him, as the plaque suggests, on his way home. He’s taken his hat off out of deference to us. We honor he and his fellow “invisible” black pioneers, but we depict him in the lee of Plaza of the Rockies, knowing his place.

Other historical luminaries honored around the downtown have statues who’ve kept their hats on.

1 thought on “Local black man made to take his hat off

  1. AvatarKhumbulani Tshuma

    Only God can save this whole earth through his servants whom he can speak to the world through we can have many wars but they never,ever help us until we knee down and ask God to interven in our lives

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