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Should we view statues as the glorification of imperfect people of the past?

By Curt Anderson
June 16, 2020 10:44 am
Category: History

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The protesting and removal of statues is more prevalent now than ever. It is true that the historic individuals immortalized with statues were often contemptible racists, xenophobes, traitors, brutalizers of indigenous people, sexists, homophobes and scoundrels. Is there a statue of anybody who didn't espouse views or behave in way that we find offensive today? Where is there a statue of somebody who was not politically incorrect by today's standards? The bull and bear statues shown here celebrate a capitalist system that causes wealth disparity.

Maybe we need to stop looking at statues as the glorification of imperfect people of the past. Besides being viewed as objects of art, statues can serve as reminders of the past when crimes and offenses which we condemn today were the accepted norms. More importantly, statues can serve as lessons for those of us living today that future generations will look at our behavior critically and know that we were less than perfect in our prejudices, thoughts and actions.

The inscriptions below statues should be continuously updated to reflect their proper place in history as we gain new perspectives.

Hundreds Petition County to Remove Oñate Monument
Residents of Rio Arriba County are calling for the immediate removal of the Don Juan de Oñate monument in Alcalde.

Luis Peña, an artist originally from Servilleta, began an online petition Monday afternoon to demand that the statue of the conquistador come down.

As of Tuesday at noon, more than 650 people had signed the petition.

"Oñate perpetuated cruel and inhumane violence against the Pueblos and was prosecuted and exiled by the Spanish for war crimes," it states. "He is not a symbol that fosters unity among our people and must be removed."
Report

Ponce De Leon statue defaced during downtown Miami protest cleaned up
MIAMI (WSVN) - Crews have removed paint from the statue of Juan Ponce De Leon near Bayfront Park in downtown Miami, days after it and a statue of Christopher Columbus were defaced by protesters calling for police reform and racial equality.

7News cameras captured crews using a pressurized water cleaner to remove red spray paint from the Ponce De Leon statue, Monday afternoon.

"This world is just crazy," said an onlooker.
Report

Two historic pioneer statues torn down on University of Oregon campus
EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) — Two historic statues have been torn down on the University of Oregon campus this weekend — the Pioneer Mother and the Pioneer outside Johnson Hall.

The Pioneer Statue has been dragged up the steps of Johnson Hall, while the Pioneer Mother was still laying next to her mount
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Christopher Columbus statue removed from St. Louis park
O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A statue of Christopher Columbus that stood in a St. Louis park for 134 years was removed Tuesday amid a growing national outcry against monuments to the 15th century explorer.

The commissioners who oversee Tower Grove Park recently voted to remove the statue. It was loaded onto a truck Tuesday, but it wasn't clear what will become of it. Park officials didn't immediately reply to a phone message seeking comment.
Report

Statue of white supremacist Josephus Daniels removed from Raleigh's Nash Square
RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Raleigh statue of a white supremacist was taken down Tuesday morning just before daybreak.

The statue depicted Josephus Daniels waving at the old News & Observer building from Nash Square.
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Sacramento John Sutter Statue Taken Down Over Claims It Represents Oppression
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A statue of the city of Sacramento's most recognized founder has been taken down over claims it represents slavery and oppression.

John Sutter's statue stood across from Sutter's Fort for more than three decades until Monday when it was pulled from its pedestal and hoisted away from what had been its place in Sacramento history.
Report

Statue of Winston Churchill boarded up as protests call for its removal
Protesters are calling for the removal of a statue of Winston Churchill, often seen as Britain's greatest wartime leader, over the former prime minister's racist past.
Report

Demand Escalates for Removal of Confederate Statues, Monuments
WASHINGTON - A bronze statue of a lone Confederate soldier had stood watch over a main street in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington, for 131 years. The controversial figure was suddenly taken down, following protests in the United States after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

The protests over police brutality have provoked debate over the removal of Confederate statues, monuments and memorials — symbols of hate and slavery to some people, and a revered southern cultural heritage to others.
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