Controversy Over Proposed WWII Memorial in Worcester

Aug 15, 2017

A proposed memorial honoring World War II veterans is causing controversy. The dispute focuses on just who should be honored.

The memorial is designed to be an exact copy of one that was removed in 1959 to make way for a new highway. It honored black veterans who served in World War II, but only covers those who enlisted or were drafted through 1943.

The replacement was the brainchild of William Coleman, a city council candidate. He told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that money was raised specifically to replicate what was taken down.

Thomas Doughton, a local historian who lectures at Holy Cross, opposes the plan.

"If the city of Worcester thought that they were doing something positive," he said, "I think this does a disservice to our veterans by not including all of the men and women of color from the community of color who served during the conflict."

Doughton said he has one uncle who was listed on the original memorial and a second who isn't included because he joined in 1944.

A subcommittee of the Worcester City Council meets Tuesday and could decide to make changes.