For centuries, the deeply rooted Massachusetts town of Concord has been an important part of U.S. history and the country’s founding. But more recently, the community of more than 17,000 residents has made history for a different reason.

Concord, home of the North Bridge that started the Revolutionary War and the American quest for independence in 1775, today has a number of commissions tied to its local government. The town’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission is one such entity.

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Last fall, the 9-member DEI panel recommended that Concord’s decision-making, elected Select Board remove a number of signs that highlight the town’s history. At first, town officials indicated the signs were removed for maintenance; however, it more recently was revealed the signs were not going back up.

The removed signs were installed nearly a century ago — in 1930 — in a number of spots within Concord to commemorate the town’s founding in the 1630s.

At the time, the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission was instrumental in installing the signs to mark the 300th anniversary of some of these foundational moments.

One of the removed signs noted “Jethro’s Tree.” The marker told of Major Simon Willard’s purchase of an ancient oak from Native Americans. The tree’s purchase began what was deemed “the plantation of Concord.”

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Other removed sign markers noted the first settlement area of Concord and “The Milldam,” which served as a fishing weir for Native Americans.

Members on Concord’s DEI Commission, in conjunction with such panels as the town’s Historical Commission, had been hashing over removal of the signs in recent years as the groups have outlined goals and objectives.

The DEI Commission’s final report on the sign removal recommendation last September deemed the markers as having “inaccurate and offensive signage.” In particular, the group said the signs were harmful to Massachusetts’ more than 15,000 indigenous residents.

“Today, in 2023, we understand fully the harmful effect of this racist imagery, the hurtful lies and the perpetration of false narratives,” commissioners wrote in last fall’s report.

The group further stated in the report that their recommendation was based on the premise “Concord must continue reckoning with its own part in that history.”

Conservative organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation, have been sharply critical of the removal of historical statutes, signs and other public artifacts — a practice that gained steam in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.

“It is easy to cancel these individuals today,” Jonathan Butcher wrote in a commentary for the Heritage Foundation. “But in doing so, we take for granted what our nation would be like had such courageous — and imperfect — men and women not existed.”