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City leaders will take down, preserve Waterbury's whipping post

Posted July 27

— A whipping post that's been preserved from the 1700s in Waterbury is coming down.

The city's mayor met with the NAACP on Thursday afternoon, where the decision to remove it from the city's green was made.

The whipping post brought out raw emotions from many in Waterbury when they realized the city decided to preserve it when the green underwent a $2 million renovation.

Pastor Rodney Wade, president of Concerned Black Clergy of Waterbury, didn't think the green was the proper place for it to sit.

The city still isn't sure if it is the original post from the 1700s but says preservation was unintended because those who made that call weren't aware of it's painful past.

Historians say the post and ones like it were commonplace in the 17 and 1800s.

There's no denying that during that time they were used for whippings. But as time went by and whippings became a thing of the past, the posts acted like a bulletin board.

"I didn't know. When I walked the beat in the 1980s, I didn't know what it was. I thought it was a message post," said Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary. "Most likely the place for it to go is the Mattatuck Museum with a plaque and some documentation attached to it so students and residents can learn the history of the whipping post."

"We all agreed it needed to come down and be preserved. As we sit here today, we celebrate that decision," Wade said.

Again, there's no exact date as to when the post will be coming down but the mayor says it will be very soon.

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