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Letter to the Editor: An argument for keeping the Agassiz namesakes

Letter to the Editor: An argument for keeping the Agassiz namesakes

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Letters

Thank you for publishing Sam McManis' informative article about Louis Agassiz. I don't believe we should remove Agassiz’s name from a Flagstaff street (or the mountain).

Agassiz's racial beliefs were abhorrent. But his scientific efforts (accurate or not) were revered and why his name was used for so many places nationwide. Flagstaff residents wanted to express their belief in science, too. That community intent is important. There are, no doubt, current beliefs that will one day be disputed or disproved. Science is evolving (pun intended) and so are cultural perspectives. Erasing his name — essentially censorship — eliminates a learning opportunity.

How about renaming the street “Agassiz’s Dead End” (which it is)? I am sure a good wordsmith can compose a better version clarifying that we now don’t value his beliefs but recognize that at one time, people did.

I would like my community to be rise above removing what we don’t currently like as though history didn’t lead us to where we are now.

Please use the replacement names offered for places like “Heritage Square” that add nothing to our unique community identity, and for the many new streets that require names. Using the offered names in this way will recognize the many people and cultures who have and are contributing to our community identify, while acknowledging our history too. If we hide the past, we are more likely to repeat it.

DUFFIE WESTHEIMER

Flagstaff

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