On the heels of a protest by the United Christian Leadership Ministry and the Take It Down Group outside the Monroe County Office Building, Aug. 25, Democratic Candidate for Monroe County Executive Sandy Frankel has released a statement in support of the groups’ demand.
The groups have requested county officials remove a racist image from the 110-year-old Dentzel Carousel at Ontario Beach Park they’ve said is a “pickaninny” caricature of two black children which is offensive.
“The exaggerated depiction of African American children on a panel of the historic carousel at Ontario Beach Park has raised legitimate community concerns about the message it sends to today’s children, families, and the public,” Frankel stated.
“To me, the image is akin to the display of the Confederate flag or a swastika in a public place. I believe that, as an historic image, it should be moved to an institution that gives the community the ability to view it within the context of history as a teaching tool, e.g. at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rundell Memorial Library, The Strong National Museum of Play, or the Memorial Art Gallery.”
“As a strong supporter of historic preservation, I know the importance of understanding our past in order to address current circumstances, and to prepare for the future. That’s why placing it in an institution dedicated to learning would be most appropriate and a sensible compromise.”
Frankel’s statement is in direct contrast to the current Republican Monroe County Executive, Maggie Brooks,’ response to the protest. Brooks’ representatives said the county has no plans to take down the image.
“As county executive, I would ask the Dentzel Carousel Company to create an historically accurate and racially sensitive replacement panel that portrays the progressive fight for freedom and equality led by heroes like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth,” Frankel stated.
County officials, and the Republican county executive candidate, Cheryl Dinolfo, have not yet responded to Frankel’s statement.
Rajesh Barnabas is also running for county executive, on the Green Party line.