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Source: KYW Newsradio
Date: January 3, 2011
Byline: Steve Tawa

City Activist Responds To Criticism Of 'The Presidentís House'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia trial lawyer and activist is firing off a letter to The New York Times, responding to a critic’s harsh words directed at the newly opened President’s House, along Independence Mall.

The President’s House, just a few feet away from the Liberty Bell Center, shows the foundation and outline of the house that President George Washington, along with nine slaves, lived in.

The cultural critic-at-large for the New York Times, Edward Rothstein opined that The President’s House distorts history and is an example of a movement toward ‘identity’ exhibitions — in effect, a slave to contemporary politics. Michael Coard is a founding member of the advocacy group Avenging the Ancestors Coalition. He said, “Rothstein is blinded by racial indifference and cultural insensitivity.”

Coard said George Washington may have been a great patriot, general and president, but the site asks the question, ‘Whether one could be a great human being when you hold others in bondage as slaves.’ Coard maintains it’s not a mishmash exhibit. “‘There’s only one issue that’s focused on throughout the entire exhibit and that’s the issue of freedom versus slavery. It focuses specifically on an issue that’s essentially been ignored in american history,” Coard said.


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