Tag Archives: Plaza of the Rockies

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.

Ask Senator Allard to vote against escalation

There’s another action planned for the PLAZA OF THE ROCKIES, organized by MoveOn.org, to present petitions to urge Senator Allard to resist President Bush’s ESCALATION plan.
The event will be a press conference starting at noon on Wednesday. There will be two short addresses followed by a visit to the senator’s office. George Reichel and Kathy Kleinsmith are the organizers working with MoveOn. Mark Lewis and Eric Verlo will represent CSAction and the PPJPC. To sign up for this event, or to find out more, click here.

Will our petition do any good? Let’s keep an open mind. Senator Allard may be a conservative, pro-rich politician, he may favor giving poor people a good butt-kicking in the army, he may favor the US imperialist design on the world, he may think capitalism run rampant is the greatest thing since cucumber sandwiches, but to support the Iraq War you’d have to be a complete crook. Allard is not a crook, right?