Which Statues Did BLM Protesters Tear Down and Why?

Published June 23rd, 2020 - 08:47 GMT
A statue of Confederate States president Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Virginia, on June 10, 2020. (AFP)
A statue of Confederate States president Jefferson Davis lies on the street after protesters pulled it down in Richmond, Virginia, on June 10, 2020. (AFP)
Highlights
A Columbus statue was also vandalised in downtown Miami with red paint, and another was dragged into a lake earlier in the week in Richmond, Virginia.

As anti-racism protests resonate across the world after the unarmed black man George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis, we take a look at the monuments knocked down in the US:

The United States has over the past few weeks seen a number of statues pulled down by anti-racism protesters following the death last month of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

The protesters have demanded that authorities take down monuments honouring pro-slavery Confederate figures and the architects of Europe's colonies.

Here is a look at some of the statues which have either been pulled down by protesters or removed by officials across the US and why:

Theodore Roosevelt

The American Museum of Natural History will remove a prominent statue of former president Theodore Roosevelt from its entrance after years of objections that it symbolises colonial expansion and racial discrimination.

The bronze statue that has stood at the museum's Central Park West entrance since 1940 depicts Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and an African man standing next to the horse.

Roosevelt, a Republican like President Donald Trump, was US president from 1901-1909. Known for his exuberant and daring manner, he carried out antitrust, conservationist and "Square Deal" reforms, and, critics said, took an interventionist approach to foreign policy, including projecting US naval power around the world.

Many critics have said the Roosevelt statue symbolises racial discrimination and colonial expansion.

Taking to Twitter, Trump objected to the statue's removal. “Ridiculous, don’t do it!” he tweeted.

Christopher Columbus 

A statue of Christopher Columbus has been removed from a St Louis park, in the US state of Minnesota.

Officials have not said where the statue will be taken.

His statue was also beheaded, in the park named after him in Boston.

A Columbus statue was also vandalised in downtown Miami with red paint, and another was dragged into a lake earlier in the week in Richmond, Virginia.

The Italian explorer, long hailed as the so-called discoverer of "The New World," is considered by many to have spurred years of genocide against indigenous groups in the Americas.

He is regularly denounced in a similar way to Civil War generals of the pro-slavery South.


Junipero Serra

Junipero Serra's statue was pulled down by anti-racism protesters in Golden Park, San Francisco, California.

Serra was an 18th century Roman Catholic priest who founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the Western United States.

Serra forced Native Americans to stay at those missions after they were converted or face brutal punishment. 

He also faced accusations of destroying tribes and their culture.

Francis Scott Key

Protesters also tore down a statue of Francis Scott Key in a San Francisco park, in the US state of California. 

Key wrote the lyrics for the US national anthem “Star Spangled Banner” in 1814. 

He was also a slave owner.

Ulysses S Grant

In San Francisco, a group of about 400 people tore down a statue of Ulysses S Grant, the 18th president of the US.

Grant led the Union Army during the Civil War and thus was a key figure in the fight to end slavery. 

But he once owned slaves.

Albert Pike

Protesters pulled down the statue of Albert Pike in Washington, DC and set it on fire.

It was the only statue of a Confederate general in the US capital.

The anti-racism demonstration came on Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States.

Jefferson Davis

A statue of Jefferson Davis was toppled in Richmond, Virginia.

Davis was the president of the pro-slavery Confederate States of America during the 1861-1865 Civil War

Richmond Howitzers Monument

Anti-racism protesters pulled down the Richmond Howitzers Monument, which was erected in 1892 to commemorate a Confederate artillery unit, in Richmond, Virginia.

The above may not necessarily be a comprehensive list of the statues torn down or removed over the past weeks in the US.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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