A Statement on the Bradley Statue

Recently, there has been discussion in Asbury Park about the value of retaining the 97-year-old statue of our city’s founder, James A. Bradley, in the park at the eastern end of Sunset Park. This six-block-long stretch of green was donated to the people of Asbury Park by Mr. Bradley himself.

In recognition of that, our trustees would like to reiterate the words found in our mission statement: “The mission of the Asbury Park Historical Society is to advance the understanding, appreciation, preservation and restoration of anything of historical value to the City of Asbury Park, New Jersey.”

Although he was a visionary in many ways, there can be no doubt that our city’s founder, like so many people of his day (he was born in 1830), was shortsighted and wrong in his advocacy of segregation. Mr. Bradley’s planning of a great little city will never erase the hurtful positions he espoused or the words he spoke. Like all of us, he too had feet of clay.

Yet he never waged a traitorous war against the United States of America, never condoned slavery, or “owned” another human being. We should never turn a blind eye to the shortcomings of Mr. Bradley or any other historical figure, but openly acknowledge them. The trustees of the Asbury Park Historical Society wish to go on record in complete opposition to the removal of the statue of the flawed but brilliant Founder of Asbury Park.

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