100 signatures reached
To: Bob Chapek, CEO, The Walt Disney Company
#AbajoHamilton: Disney Stop Celebrating—& Profiting From—Slave Merchant Alexander Hamilton
#AbajoHamilton is a national coalition of organizations and individuals concerned about the continued celebration of the legacy of Alexander Hamilton. Our coalition is calling on Disney CEO Bob Chapek to be on the right side of history and cancel the opening of the Hamilton movie, which celebrates Alexander Hamilton, a founding father who bought Black bodies, sold Black souls and profited from Black enslavement. We call on Mr. Chapek and Disney to stop the con game that makes Hamilton out to something else, and they can begin by canceling the Hamilton movie.
Our campaign takes place at a time when the country is in the midst of a racial-politico reckoning with few to no precedents. While we recognize that we’re in a historical moment of enormous danger, we’re also elated to see the arc of racial justice burning as brightly as it has ever burned in recent memory.
In light of the current moment, we believe the time has come to admit this uncomfortable, but necessary fact: that you cannot simultaneously yell or tweet that “#BlackLivesMatter while also singing, dancing and profiting from the celebration of Alexander Hamilton, the founding father that historians like Harvard’s Annette Gordon-Reed, say "bought and sold slaves for his in-laws,” a slave merchant for whom opposing slavery was “never at the forefront of his agenda." (https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/10/correcting-hamilton/). The historical record is unequivocal with respect to Hamilton’s buying, selling and helping his family profit from slavery. Hamilton’s own records include letters written in his own hand ordering the purchase of “two or three poor boys.” Early and contemporary apologists for Hamilton and slavery point to the fact that, in the same letter asked that the slave boys be “bound in the most reasonable manner you can.”
Given the situation the United States is still dealing with because of its awful legacy of human bondage like that Hamilton profited from, we view such apologetics as dangerous and unacceptable as the act of reaping profits from the celebration of Hamilton.
Why is this important?
Disney has a long, troubled history of profiteering off from racism. At a time when the country is in the throes of racial turmoil, a time when police and civilians are taking Black lives from us, we view Disney's decision to launch a movie about Alexander Hamilton, a man who profited from the buying of black bodies and the selling of black souls as an insult, a profoundly disturbing and insensitive act of racial profiteering.
Because Alexander Hamilton bought and sold slaves, because he played such a foundational role in the development of capitalism in the United States, we believe Hamilton should be known as “the father of racial capitalism.” We believe that the legacy of Alexander Hamilton should be mourned, not celebrated in history, in Hip-Hop or in Hollywood.
This campaign is critical because the country has the opportunity to topple not just the symbols of Confederate racism. It also has the opportunity to face and overcome its history of Federalism racism, including that of one of the Founding fathers of Federalism, Alexander Hamilton.