Below is a statement from Melinda Haring, activism manager at the Institute for Justice, on today’s statement from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, announcing its decision to reverse the condemnation of James Dupree’s Mantua art studio. The city was attempting to forcibly seize James Dupree’s studio through eminent domain in order to replace it with private development.
Today saw an enormous victory for Philadelphia artist James Dupree and his family. James’s victory proves that citizens can fight and beat city hall—even in Philadelphia. James and his family hope to inspire Americans everywhere to stand up whenever their rights are violated.
Dupree lost many years of his work and life fighting this illegal and unconstitutional land grab. James’s victory puts the city of Philadelphia on notice: the city cannot take private property for private development ever again.
The Institute for Justice has led the charge against the illegal land grab, but we would like to salute the ACLU Greater Philadelphia Chapter, ACLU of Pennsylvania, Americans For Prosperity – Pennsylvania, The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Commonwealth Foundation, Institute of Contemporary Art, Mural Arts Program, Painted Bride Art Center, Property Rights Alliance, Molly Dougherty, Professor Patricia M. Smith and the Rev. Dr. Mark K. Tyler for standing with the Dupree family.
James Dupree is currently in transit but will be available for comment later in the day.