But they didn't have a say. At the back of everyone's minds are the images of Neo-Nazis marching in the streets in Charlottesville in 2017. Others said that they consider Columbus an emblem of their heritage, and that the figure’s erasure from history would be a “hate crime” against Italians and Italian Americans. "This is why they put them up in the first place; to affirm the centrality of white supremacy.". But for many, driven to the streets to demand a new America free of racism, a direct line is seen between the horrors of slavery and the inequalities of today. selling First Nation women and girls into sex slavery. "It's not just that the statues represent white supremacy, but the purpose of building the statues was the perpetuation of white supremacy," James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association, told TIME Magazine. ST. PAUL, Minn. — Protesters in Minnesota on Wednesday pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the state Capitol amid continuing anger over the death of George Floyd. A statue of Christopher Columbus in Virginia has been torn down by protesters, who then set it on fire and threw it into a lake, in the latest action against monuments in the wake of … They are time capsules. Why? For example, the Alabama city of Birmingham removed a Confederate monument erected in 1905 this week. Dea/Archivio J. What was happening during these two periods? Vote Now! Others may simply not want the monuments they have grown up with taken away — despite their controversial history. When statues were first erected honouring Confederate generals or notable slave-owning citizens, the white population in the southern states would, by and large, have nodded with approval. And why the Confederate statues should come down. May 31: Charles Linn, Alabama. We’re here to stand in solidarity.”. In St. Paul, demonstrators toppled a ten-foot-tall statue that stood in front of the Minnesota state capitol. In Richmond, protesters pulled down an eight-foot-tall statue in Byrd Park, carrying it about 200 yards before setting it on fire and throwing it into the nearby Fountain Lake. “The paradigm shift is happening and it was time.”, Theresa Machemer is a freelance writer based in Washington DC. Privacy Statement In the early 1900s, some US states passed Jim Crow laws, which disenfranchised black people and enforced segregation. Cookie Policy The group later turned their attention toward Lincoln's statue, pulling it down about eight minutes later. Gov. Protesters in cities around the United States have been tearing down, defacing and otherwise vandalizing statues of Christopher Columbus as an offshoot of the protests over George Floyd's death. The demonstration began peacefully, but then protesters vandalized the Columbus statue, tore it down, and threw it into a lake in the park. 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In St. Paul, where protesters tore Columbus’ likeness down to the sounds of “singing, drumming and joyous chants,” as Jessie Van Berkel writes for the Star Tribune, police informed American Indian Movement activist Mike Forcia that he would be charged with criminal damage to property. As local broadcast station WCVB Boston reports, the Massachusetts statue of Columbus—erected in a historically Italian American neighborhood in 1979—was previously vandalized in 2006, when its head went missing for several days, and 2015, when demonstrators spray-painted it with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” On Thursday, workers removed the decapitated statue and placed it in storage, according to CBS Boston. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images. The statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down. Rebuilding a fairer nation built on genuine equality remains a herculean task that could take decades. A statue of Columbus was taken down in San Francisco last month because the explorer's actions "do not deserve to be venerated," city officials said, … "They are a constant reminder of the dehumanisation of African Americans and the pushback against our civil and human rights," the SPLC's Lecia Brooks told the New York Times. A three-metre tall (10ft) bronze statue of Columbus … As with Confederate monuments in the United States and statues of racist figures in Europe, controversy over Columbus is nothing new. In the face of this debate, another solution has been offered. “I’m willing to take that,” Forcia tells the Star Tribune. Some demonstrators said they believed protesters hoped to tear the statue down. Outside the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., a 10-foot bronze sculpture of Columbus came toppling down on Wednesday afternoon after a group of protesters tied ropes around the statue… The second statue was removed about 5:30 a.m. from Arrigo Park in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood. We can expect more of the Confederate "icons" to bite the dust in the near future. Now, their descendants and their supporters do want them gone and some are not willing to wait. In the middle of the 20th century, the civil rights movement was formed, in part, to remove those legal instruments of suppression. A large group gathered about 4:20 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain, 301 S. Columbus Dr., for a protest and moved south into Grant Park, Chicago police said. Instead of having them in pride of place towering over public parks and squares, they could be reassembled in museums where the context of their histories can be properly explained. (Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP: Alexa Welch Edlund) In the recent protests, some used ropes to pull down a statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham that had stood in Richmond's Monroe Park since 1891. “We don’t condone violence, and it needs to stop,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told reporters on Wednesday. As monuments to controversial figures face a reckoning around the world, protesters in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Virginia have targeted statues of Christopher Columbus, damaging or pulling down three in a matter of days. The controversial Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park was taken down under cover of darkness early Friday, hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered its removal. In the mid-1700s, they were mentioned in history books but as rather peripheral figures, not as heroes.”, Americans seeking an origin story that didn’t involve Great Britain revived Columbus’ legacy during the Revolutionary War, lionizing him to such an extent that he eventually received his own day. Who Was Charles Curtis, the First Vice President of Color? This comes days after the Confederate statue of General Williams Carter Wickham was… Why Columbus, Andrew Jackson statues should remain standing. By chief foreign correspondent Philip Williams, Rebecca Armitage and Lucia Stein. The debate over whether to keep or remove Confederate statues has simmered long before the current protests. The crowd pulled down the statue just before 9 p.m. “This continent is built on the blood and the bones of our ancestors, but it is built off the backs and the sweat and the tears and the blood and the bones of Africans,” Vanessa Bolin, a member of the Richmond Indigenous Society, told protesters the day the Columbus statue was torn down, report Ali Sullivan and Zach Joachim for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Website: tkmach.com, Continue The removal of Columbus statues is part of a growing movement to get rid of monuments deemed racist such as those dedicated to Confederate war heroes … The statue was built in the early 1920s and was the first Columbus statue in the South. The protesters looped a rope around the statue and pulled it to the ground. Protesters have pulled down a statute of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota State Capitol. It turned deadly when a man allegedly accelerated his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and leaving 19 others injured. The 'extremely, extremely vividly detailed' song that just might take out the Hottest 100, Couple battling COVID-19 marries on the ward in UK hospital, Senate gives former US president's defence team two weeks to file impeachment briefs, Former martial arts instructor tells rape trial accuser initiated sex on day of cancer diagnosis, Police left traumatised by lethal confrontation with parolee who stabbed his partner 16 times. Mainstream media news coverage inevitably focused on … It's not just the Confederate luminaries being toppled. A small crowd cheered and passing cars honked as the statue came down about 3 a.m. But many are not standing the test of time or changed attitudes — especially after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer last month. Protesters try to pull down Andrew Jackson statue in Layayette Park, across from White House, June 23, 2020. Richmond also saw a statue of Italian explorer Columbus pulled down, set alight and thrown into a lake earlier this week,. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), 114 Confederate symbols had been removed since the Charleston church shootings in 2015. At school, many of you would have been taught how Columbus "discovered" the Americas. Though Columbus is widely credited with “discovering” America, Smithsonian magazine’s Brian Handwerk points out that Native Americans lived on the continent for some 15,000 years prior to his arrival. But many Confederate monuments in America were built long after the Civil War ended in 1865. … But now, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism, the debate has taken on renewed resonance. A study by the SPLC found a great number were built during the early 1900s and again in the 1950s and 60s. Protesters mobilized by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police have called for the removal of statues of Columbus, Confederate figures and others. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn, and work. Smithsonian Institution, (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce / AFP via Getty Images). These objects can be torn down — and no doubt more will be in the coming days. Activists bring down Columbus statue outside Minnesota State Capitol. More recently, the controversial figure has been touted for his Italian American heritage: On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would not support efforts to remove a statue of Columbus in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, adding that it “has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian American contribution to New York.”. But some of the protesters do not want to compromise on this issue. Tim Walz said Thursday that he doesn’t condone protesters who tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus at the Minnesota Capitol, but that he understands why they did it. And, during his four voyages to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America, he enslaved and killed thousands of indigenous people. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Her work has also appeared in National Geographic and SciShow. As monuments to controversial figures face a reckoning around the world, protesters in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Virginia have targeted statues of Christopher Columbus, damaging … “Both of them were largely ignored within a decade or so of their deaths. Bolin added, “We’re not here to hijack your movement. Protesters in Richmond, Va., Tuesday night reportedly pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus, spray-painted it, set it on fire and threw it in a lake. Protesters in Minnesota on Wednesday pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the State Capitol amid continuing anger over the police killing of George Floyd. And symbolising that continuity of repression are the men on horses, standing tall over hundreds of American public spaces. Back then, during a "Unite the Right" rally, a group of white nationalists holding lit torches marched through the campus of the University of Virginia. or Moreover, the explorer never even set foot on the North American mainland. When Columbus died in 1506, he was “kind of a forgotten figure, as was John Cabot,” an explorer who also reached North America in the 1490s, University of Bristol historian Evan Jones told Smithsonian in 2015. A Christopher Columbus statue in Boston's North End was also vandalized on Tuesday evening when an unidentified perpetrator tore down the head of the monument. California Do Not Sell My Info For the "freed" black population, the building of monuments to men who sought to keep them in chains would have been anathema. Witnesses say around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, protesters used three ropes to pull the Christopher Columbus statue down. Several statues of Christopher Columbus have been attacked, decapitated, and even dumped in a lake. Why is it coming down now? Crews were seen taking down the statues in Grant Park and the city's Little Italy neighborhood during the overnight hours. Protesters have pulled down a statute of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota State Capitol. President Donald Trump has refused to rebadge US military bases which are named after Civil War-era Confederate leaders. And, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, police in Boston received a report that a marble statue of the Italian explorer and colonizer had lost its head. Some people argue that statues represent our history, and removing them erases our past and the lessons we should learn. Though Forcia tied the rope around the neck of the statue, Native women led the demonstration by pulling the rope that brought down the statue. But across the US, some cities have gradually been taking down statues, including recently in Maryland and North Carolina. Activists have protested the Roosevelt statue for years. But it is the Confederate symbols that are attracting the most attention. While those publicly identifying as Neo-Nazis and white supremacists will no doubt rail against any moves to topple their Confederate heroes, it's not clear what they might do in reaction. In the UK, a statue of Winston Churchill was defaced with graffiti stating “Churchill was a racist”, following Black Lives Matter protests in London this weekend. Advertising Notice AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), Former Australia Post chief executive did not have board approval for Cartier watch gifts, report finds, Margaret Court defends her right to religious freedom of speech amid backlash over Australia Day Honour, 'Read the room': Indigenous cricketer Dan Christian tells PM to follow CA's lead on Australia Day, Aged care sector 'disappointed' science does not support mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for workers, Morrison pushes back against Google's threat to pull search engine from Australia, NSW Premier's office breached rules when documents were shredded, report says, Joe Biden has overhauled the decorations in the Oval Office. Earlier in June, activists tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the Minneapolis State Capitol. But while some want them to stay because they cling to those ideas of white dominance, others feel removing them takes away a piece of real history — however ugly. In the recent protests, some used ropes to pull down a statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham that had stood in Richmond's Monroe Park since 1891. Alabama's Attorney-General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit against the city, alleging they violated the state's law by not seeking his approval. Keep up-to-date on: © 2021 Smithsonian Magazine. Terms of Use But this time, the vandalism of these sites — including with messages to "stop white supremacy" — has brought the issue into sharp focus. Still, he added, “[G]iven the conversations that we’re certainly having right now in our city of Boston and throughout the country, we’re also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of the statue.”. Those behind it have been criticised for defacing public property, but they argue that some US states have made it nearly impossible to remove statues legally. Caribbean and the northern coast of South America, Archaeologists Unearth Egyptian Queen's Tomb, 13-Foot 'Book of the Dead' Scroll, You Can Now Explore the CIA's 'Entire' Collection of UFO Documents Online, How Wolves Are Driving Down Mountain Lion Populations. After all, their heroes' may not have prevailed in that awful Civil War, but they were revered all the same. Let's take a look, Doubt cast over expert's 'throw scenario' for cheerleader's high-rise balcony death, Why some Americans are winning the lottery with impromptu COVID-19 vaccinations. (Both Cabot and Columbus were Italian, but the former sailed under the British flag, while the latter ventured out on Spain’s behalf.) ... Virginia lawmakers had planned to pull down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. … This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced. In Baltimore, Maryland, protesters on the Fourth of July pulled down a statue of Columbus and threw it into the city's Inner Harbor. A mob toppled a statue of Charles Linn, a Confederate navy captain … Give a Gift. A rope was thrown around the 10ft bronze … Protesters surrounded the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park Friday night, spray-painted it and tried to pull it down. Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. The statue of Christopher Columbus is seen on the ground after it was pulled down by protesters,Richmond, Virginia, U.S., June 9, 2020 Toppled: A Christopher Columbus statue … Members of the American Indian Movement are preparing to tear down the statue of Christopher Columbus at the Minnesota State capitol pic.twitter.com/8vLdELlxqG — Max Nesterak (@maxnesterak) June 10, 2020 … The incidents come days after demonstrators toppled the statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham, which has stood since 1891 in Virginia's Monroe Park. The submerged statue in Virginia has been removed from Fountain Lake and taken to an undisclosed location, parks and recreation department spokeswoman Tamara Jenkins tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 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