Christopher Columbus memorials beheaded and torn down

Protesters targeted statues of Christopher Columbus in Massachusetts and Virginia on Tuesday evening in protest of racial injustice.


Protesters targeted statues of Christopher Columbus in Massachusetts and Virginia on Tuesday evening in protest of racial injustice.

The 8-foot memorial of Columbus was located in Richmond, Virginia, was pulled down by protesters and dragged nearly 200 yards to a landing at Foundation Lake, according to The Hill.  

There it was allegedly lit on fire, and tossed into the lake.

A replacement headstone in the form of a poster was inserted in front of the sunken statue in the water that read: "Racism. You will not be missed."

The base of the statue was covered in graffiti and protesters held signs that said "This land is Powhatan land" and "Columbus represents genocide."

The statue is reportedly the first statue of the explorer to ever be erected in the South, and it was dedicated in December, 1927.

The statues's toppling came as demonstrators in the city were making their way down Arthur Ashe Boulevard in response to the death of George Floyd.

Protesters in Richmond stated that African Americans and indigenous peoples have both faced white supremacy and institutionalized racism in the US since Columbus arrived on the continent.  

A member of the Richmond Indigenous Society, Vanessa Bolin, spoke to the attendees early in the night.

“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,” Bolin said. “We’re not here to hijack your movement. We’re here to stand in solidarity.”

Joseph Rogers, another speaker, made note of the genocide committed by white colonizers against Native Americans.

“We cannot fight white supremacy without recognizing and uplifting one of its earliest victims on this continent,” Rogers shared with the crowd.

Another statue of Columbus was beheaded further north, in another state that was one of the original 13 colonies. In Boston overnight, in the park named after him, Columbus lost his head, according to CBS Boston.

Memorials of Columbus have long been targeted, as many critics of his say that his visit to the US is what spearheaded the trans-Atlantic slave trade and eventually led to European colonization of native peoples.

Several states have elected to rename Christopher Columbus Day—a federal holiday—to Indigenous Peoples' Day

Floyd's unjust death has ignited in people a distaste and hatred for a number of historical monuments within the US.

Confederate monuments that honor generals like Robert E. Lee have also been targeted by protesters in Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Monuments and memorials have also been targeted in England and Belgium for the same reasons. In England, statues of Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln were vandalized.


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