Tear Down All the Racist Statues
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.
Protesters tearing down a Confederate statue of Charles Linn in Birmingham, Alabama. Linn was a captain in the Confederate Navy. pic.twitter.com/KBZELq61A4
— Resist Programming (@RzstProgramming) June 1, 2020
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 was in downtown Nashville the statue is of a confederate warrior named Edward Ward Carmack who wrote articles discrediting the civil rights journalists in the 1900s #BlackLivesMatter #BLACK_LIVES_MATTER pic.twitter.com/mau8Gi79Hq
— ⁷✊✊✊ (@mybabiexx) June 1, 2020
This statue of Confederate leader Williams Carter Wickham no longer stands in Richmond, Virginia.
The statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park lays beside its base, covered in paint. pic.twitter.com/D6EgslhpS7
— The Commonwealth Times (@theCT) June 7, 2020
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:
“There are members in my family who are shaking in their boots. I’m sure my ancestor Robert E Lee is rolling in his grave and I say let him roll,” Robert Lee’s Fourth Great Nephew said in support of tearing the statue down. @NBC12 pic.twitter.com/lxsjtXPVJF
— Eric Perry (@EricpNBC12) June 4, 2020
Over the weekend, a monument to a 17th-century slave trader was toppled by protesters and thrown into the harbor in Bristol, England.
Edward Colston statue pulled down by BLM protesters in Bristol. Colston was a 17th century slave trader who has numerous landmarks named after him in Bristol. #BlackLivesMattters #blmbristol #ukprotests pic.twitter.com/JEwk3qKJx2
— Jack Grey (@_jackgrey) June 7, 2020
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*.
Naw, man, as the singular (1) heir of this family, I declare it’s cool. https://t.co/bcBrff74WN
— Alex Colston (@re_colston) June 7, 2020
(*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.
The statue represented bigotry, hatred, and oppression for too many people, for too long. It is finally gone. pic.twitter.com/30f2Skpqog
— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) June 3, 2020
Indianapolis, Indiana is set to finally remove a confederate monument after promising to do so for years.
Indianapolis will remove a monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers. The mayor called it a reminder of the “state’s horrific embrace of the Ku Klux Klan a century ago.”
The memorial was to be taken down in 2017 after protests, but the city hadn’t secured funds at the time. pic.twitter.com/tW8VV1NxwL
— AJ+ (@ajplus) June 6, 2020
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.)
Alexandria, like all great cities, is constantly changing and evolving. pic.twitter.com/CZTjlOkpfT
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) June 2, 2020
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.
A before and after with the slave auction block in Fredericksburg. My family’s roots stretch back to this district hundreds of years. This auction block is likely where my ancestors had been. As rich as the history is here, its removal paves the way for necessary change. pic.twitter.com/ETjQeT71hy
— Vangie Williams (@Vangie4Congress) June 5, 2020
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.
No, but guys do you know how racist you have to be, to be mad, that a statue of a slave trader was torn down
— Nelly (@nelsbilyachenko) June 7, 2020
(image: RYAN M. KELLY/AFP via Getty Images)
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