Elite perspective on the Pickett Bridge signs in this week’s Cascadia Weekly online / Noisy Waters Northwest

legacy of pickett cascadia

August 26, 2017  Dena Jensen

Oxford Dictionary definition of elite: 1.1 “A group or class of people seen as having the most power and influence in a society, especially on account of their wealth or privilege”

What do we think about an elite citizen here in Whatcom County, such as Ted Van Dyk in his August 23, 2017 opinion piece in the online edition of Cascadia Weekly, asserting that the City of Bellingham temporarily taking down the signs at the so-called Pickett Bridge has “fed intolerance?” On social media this last week there was also an August 24, 2017 statement on The Pickett House FB page by past president of the Daughter of the Pioneers, Susan Hess expressing fears “that someone, in ignorance, will assume that Bellingham’s Pickett House Museum is a confederate monument and do it harm.” Continue reading

Bellingham City Council, 8/14/17 Committee of the Whole discussion regarding renaming the Pickett Bridge / Noisy Waters Northwest

april barker cob committee of the whole pickett

Click the graphic to access the 8/14/2017 Bellingham City Council Committee of the Whole meeting. Discussion regarding the Pickett Bridge starts at about 2:02:00 on the video.

August 15, 2017  Dena Jensen

At last night’s August 14, 2017 Bellingham City Council meeting, there was a brief discussion which touched on a bit longer discussion held earlier that day at Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting regarding renaming Bellingham’s Pickett Bridge.  Council Member April Barker said the issue is being raised due to constituent’s concerns that the name of the bridge “is celebrating a man who has a legacy of pro-slavery and had a strong alliance with the Confederate Army.”  In the summer 2015 The Bellingham Herald ran a story saying discussion of renaming of the bridge came forward when Community to Community Development and the Racial Justice Coalition, held a protest of crime-mapping software being considered by the Bellingham Police Department.  Pickett Bridge was the site of their protest.

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City Council Member responses to the idea of changing the name of Pickett Bridge / Facebook Post, Noisy Waters Norhtwest

western front pickett bridge
July 25, 2017  Dena Jensen
I encourage people to read this opinion piece in The Western Front by Suzanna Leung, and take a look at the chart of Bellingham City Council Member responses to the idea of changing the name of Pickett Bridge, which is named for a Confederate General who, according to historian Leslie Gordon “was appalled by the notion of freeing slaves and arming black men to fight.”

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