People gather around the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia

Tear Down All the Racist Statues

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As protests have raged on in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by the police, statues commemorating racists have been coming down all across the country and now also abroad.

Just to name a few:

In Birmingham, Alabama last week, protesters toppled a statue of Charles Linn, one of the city’s founders who was also a Captain in the Confederate Navy and funded Confederate efforts by trading cotton to England.

In Nashville, Tennessee, a statue of Edward Carmack–a pro-lynching newspaperman who drove Ida B. Wells from the state–got the treatment it deserved.

This statue of Confederate leader Williams Carter Wickham no longer stands in Richmond, Virginia.

Back in 2017, Wickham’s descendants called on the city to remove the statue, which is a trend we’re happy to see continue. Here’s a descendant of Robert E. Lee expressing his support for getting rid of his racist uncle:

Over the weekend, a monument to a 17th-century slave trader was toppled by protesters and thrown into the harbor in Bristol, England.

Bristol’s mayor said he didn’t support the statue’s removal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it “a criminal act” and said the protesters responsible “will face the full force of the law.” You know who’s fine with Edward Colston’s statue being demolished, though? His only living heir*.

(*Note: in a follow-up tweet, Colston clarified that was a joke and said he’s not the singular heir but is possibly distantly related to the slave trader. It is still an A+ tweet.)

Not every statue that’s come down these past couple of weeks has been at the hands of protesters (although let’s be clear, none of them would have come down without major protest efforts).

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a statue of former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo was removed by order of the current mayor, Jim Kenney. Rizzo was staunchly pro-segregation and pro-police brutality, especially toward African-Americans.

Indianapolis, Indiana is set to finally remove a confederate monument after promising to do so for years.

In Alexandria, Virginia, a Confederate monument was removed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who own the statue. It was already set to be removed next month, but it seems the group was worried about the statue being defaced during protests. (Good, they should be worried.)

In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a slave auction block was removed from a street corner after a years-long effort that saw opposition from white city council members and local white business owners.

The block was finally moved to a museum which is where all of these monuments belong–if they belong anywhere. Personally, the Bristol harbor seems like a better place than anywhere else but they certainly don’t belong on our streets and in our parks.

(image: RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.