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True Philadelphian Hero Boldly Seeks Historical Marker for the ODB McDonald's

An online petition seeks support for a plaque officially recognizing the rapper's role in Philly history.

A "poorly photoshopped" mockup gives an idea of what the desired plaque might look like.
A "poorly photoshopped" mockup gives an idea of what the desired plaque might look like.
Adam Butler

Here's a petition seeking a historical marker honoring Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol' Dirty Bastard (or ODB, aka Russell Tyrone Jones), to be placed outside the South Philly McDonald's where the rapper was arrested in November 2000. ODB had been sought by authorities for more than a month after fleeing a court-ordered stint at a drug treatment facility. At the time of his arrest, one mysterious source told the Daily News that "the rapper had been 'laying low' in Philadelphia and enjoyed it."

A recently published eyewitness account of the arrest says the rapper initially stopped at the McDonald's to use the bathroom while passing through to New Jersey, before being hit with a craving for a Filet-O-Fish and being recognized at the counter. Here's the full account, excerpted from the new ODB biography The Dirty Version.

The push for the marker, led by petition author Adam Butler, is timed to eligibility requirements: Pennsylvania's historical marker program requires that "the person to be marked has been deceased for at least ten years." ODB died on November 13, 2004.

Historical markers, which are the domain of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, cost $1,400 to $1,875 and must be approved by the commission following an involved nomination process. There is no official requirement for signatures involved in the nomination process, though presumably any evidence of citizen support could only strengthen the case.

The goal is currently set at 1,000 signatures, with 893 received as this article was published. (That goal seems to have been bumped up, as this Philebrity item yesterday noted the petition sought 500 signatures.)

The annual deadline for nominations just passed, on December 1. If Butler submitted the required 12 copies of his nomination application in time, the review process could begin as early as February of this year. If he waited to procure more signatures beforehand, we could be holding our breath until well into 2016 to find out if he was successful.

If not approved, the application may be resubmitted or, as the commission helpfully notes, the petitioner "may want to consider a non-official marker of some kind."


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