To Remove the Historically Disgraceful & Despicable Name of “RIKER” From the NYC “Riker’s Island” Penal Institution

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PETITION                

To Remove the Historically Disgraceful & Despicable Name                 of “RIKER” From the NYC “Riker’s Island” Penal Institution

Whereas: The infamous “Riker’s Island” Penal Institution is named after the Riker Family, who sold the Island to NYC in 1884; and

Whereas: Richard Riker was the Patriarch of the Riker Family and also Chief Magistrate of NYC from 1815 until 1838. Without the Legal cover he provided them, the Major Bounty Hunting Rings in NYC would not have been able to kidnap Black people, (Including little Black Children!!) and sell them down South, as chillingly illuminated in the recent Oscar winning Movie "TwelveYears a Slave"; and

Whereas: Riker issued what was called “Certificates of Removal” to the abductors from his Court, and received “Kickbacks” in return, as set forth in the NY Times nonfiction Bestseller, "Gateway to Freedom" by Eric Foner; and

Whereas: The statements made in the first three paragraphs of this petition are very well documented in Primary sources in the Historical record, and validated by Pulitzer Prize winning Historians; and

Whereas: We find it nauseating and fundamentally incongruous that a Man who was a leading participant in what was called at the time “The Kidnapping Club“ by Abolitionists, has his name on the Island and Jail Complex that houses one of the largest and most notorious Penal Institutions in the world, in which primarily Black and Hispanic Men are overwhelmingly incarcerated; and so

Therefore be it Resolved: That the name “RIKER” be removed in all ways from the Penal Institution and Island that currently bears his Name – and that our Mayor and City Council find a new more generic name that does not have the disgraceful historical symbolic connotations of the despicable activities of Richard Riker.

 



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