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Philly changes course on Tubman statue after public outcry

Wesley Wofford’s traveling Harriet Tubman statue stopped at Philadelphia City Hall last winter, and proved so popular the city commissioned a permanent one.

  • Instead of a public selection process, officials just awarded the commission to Wofford. Black artists and historians expressed disappointment over the closed-door process that chose a white man.

Now, the city has reversed course, Jordan Levy reports, and will hold an open call for a chance to earn $500k for sculpting the famed civil rights leader.

The temporary sculpture of Harriet Tubman outside City Hall was a traveling exhibit by Wesley Wofford. Credit: Conrad Benner / Streets Dept

9 Philly government agencies with jobs that aren’t obvious

Ever wonder about the difference between the Tax Review Board and the Board of Revision of Taxes? Local government can be a maze to navigate.

  • Philadelphia has more than 100 offices, boards, bureaus, and commissions. Departments like Parks & Rec or Emergency Management are relatively obvious, but not all the titles are clear.

Asha Prihar takes a look at nine corners of municipal government with confusing names, and explains what their functions actually are.

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

William Dick students gather in grade-level clusters as they prepare to enter the building on the first day of the academic year Credit: Elizabeth DeOrnellas for Billy Penn Logan Center

Weekly brief on gun violence prevention (with PCGVR)

We publish this report each week in partnership with the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting at the Community College of Philadelphia. 

By the numbers in Philadelphia

  • 56: Shooting victims recorded last week so far, vs. 53 the week prior. [City Controller via @PCGVR]
  • 1,595: Shooting victims this year, up 3% from last year [PCGVR]
  • 362: Year-to-date homicides, 2% ahead of last year’s pace and up 76% vs. five years ago [Philly Police]


Mayor Kenney joins Superintendent Watlington at Add B. Anderson Elementary in Angora to cut the ribbon on a new schoolyard (10:15 a.m.). Today is International Overdose Awareness and Memorial Day, so the mayor then heads to the plaza outside MSB to open a pop-up Overdose Memorial Garden that’ll offer resources and support through the end of September (12 p.m.).

Kenney then joins the virtual biweekly briefing on the city’s gun violence response (1 p.m.), which focuses on safety plans for this weekend’s Made in America festival. You can listen live on WURD Radio 900 AM/96.1 FM or watch on Facebook.


? Banksyland, a touring art exhibit featuring 80 pieces by world famous street artist Banksy, is landing in Philadelphia. Tickets are $29, or $60 for the VIP experience with a poster. (Friday to Monday, Sept. 2-5)

? Say farewell to summer and hello to Oktoberfest season at the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein’s 150th annual Labor Day weekend festival, with music, games, food, and lots to drink. (Saturday to Monday, Sept. 3-5)