CP photo by Ryan Deto
Pittsburgh workers removing the Stephen Foster statue
Early in the morning on April 26, the controversial Stephen Foster statue was removed from its post in Oakland. In October 2017, the Pittsburgh Arts Commission voted to remove
the statue, which many Pittsburghers had deemed racist
for its minstrel-like depiction of a black man sitting at Foster’s feet. Foster, a native Pittsburgher, is the famous composer of songs like “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races.”
The statue came off of its post fairly easily. A crew of several Department of Public Works employees wrapped thick rope around the statue and it was pulled off the base with a backhoe. The ropes were removed after the statue was loaded onto a flatbed truck; the truck drove slowly away and nothing was damaged.
The 800-pound statue will be housed at a Department of Public Works yard in Highland Park. The Arts Commission is trying to find a permanent home for the statue, but Pittsburgh public art manager Yessica Guerra said the city has yet to find any takers. City officials want the Foster statue to be replaced by a statue of a famous and influential black woman from the Pittsburgh area. Public meetings will be held in the near future to gather input of who should be honored.
Two public meetings remain and will be held at the following dates and locations:
• May 1, 6:30 p.m. at the Sheraden senior center, 720 Sherwood Ave., Sheraden.
• May 3, 6:30 p.m. at the Hill House Association, 1835 Centre Ave., Hill District.
Below is a slideshow of the Stephen Foster statue being removed.