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Protestors Across The County Pull Down, Behead Monuments To Confederacy And Slavery
Protestors have also torn down various monuments to Christopher Columbus, another contentious historical figure.
Demonstrators protesting police brutality and racism in America in the wake of George Floyd's death have begun forcibly taking down monuments to the Confederacy and other figures responsible for the enslavement and subjugation of other races.
Late Wednesday night in Richmond, Virginia, protestors topped a statue dedicated to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, according to NPR. This was the third statue to be torn down by protestors in Richmond, following the toppling of a statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham and a statue of Christopher Columbus.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered the removal of a massive monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee that currently sits on state-owned land "as soon as possible," NPR previously reported. However, a Virginia judge has issued an injunction to block the removal until a lawsuit seeking to halt the monument's removal can be heard in court.
A large number of the monuments honoring the secessionist government were actually erected decades after the end of the Civil War — with a majority of them being built during the era of Jim Crow and racial segregation, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Earlier this week in Boston, another statue of Columbus was beheaded by protestors, according to Masslive.com. Monuments to the famed explorer have been the focus of ire from anti-racism protestors in recent years, due to his role in the mass killing of native Americans and enslavement of indigenous peoples of the Caribbean.
Italian-American immigrant groups waged a number of successful movements to erect monuments to Columbus in the 19th and 20th centuries — seeking to highlight the contributions of Italians in American history, Masslive.com reported.
Today, the monuments are central in a fraught conversation about idealizing historical figures who also worked to uphold slavery and racist practices — much like the various monuments to the Confederate States of America and its leaders.
The statue of Columbus in Boston was removed by the city on Thursday and placed into storage, according to CBS News.
As protestors tear down statues, state officials are also working to take down monuments to figures criticized as racist. In Philadelphia last week, the city removed the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo — which has been a focal point for protests in the city for decades.
"As a historian I always tell people you don't learn from statues, the only thing you learn from statues is reverence. And you have this towering statue in the middle of Center City asking you to revere this person who very clearly didn't revere all of Philadelphia," historian Timothy J. Lombardo previously told Oxygen.com of the Rizzo statue.