Christopher Columbus Statue Meets Grisly Fate

Another is thrown in a Virginia lake
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2020 9:55 AM CDT
Columbus Statue Thrown in Lake, Another Beheaded
A statue of Christopher Columbus is in the water at Byrd Park in Richmond, Va., on Tuesday after it was torn down by protesters.   (@marleynichelle via AP)

(Newser) – It started with a chant: "Take it down." Then, a short time later Tuesday evening, protesters at Byrd Park in Richmond, Va., followed through, returning to the spot where an 8-foot-tall Christopher Columbus statue has stood since 1927 and yanking it down with ropes, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The demonstrators—who'd been in the park to support indigenous peoples, an extension of protests nationwide in the wake of George Floyd's killing—then dragged the statue across the street and deposited it in a lake. The statue, said to be the first of Columbus put up in the South, was also reportedly set on fire briefly. WRIC notes this comes just days after a statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was pulled down in nearby Monroe Park.

A similarly grisly fate met a statue in Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park in Boston. It didn't get taken down, but by Wednesday morning, it no longer had a head, WPRI reports. Per Forbes, images showed the head lying on the ground next to the Columbus statue. CBS Boston notes that while Columbus is widely credited with "discovering" America, he's also accused of jump-starting the trans-Atlantic slave trade and abusing and killing Native Americans. Meanwhile, in another part of the world, a 150-year-old statue come down as well. Per the New York Times, a statue of King Leopold II of Belgium—who "brutalized Congo" in the late 1800s, leading to the deaths of millions of Congolese—was removed Tuesday from a public square in Antwerp. A rep for the city's mayor, however, says the already damaged statue was taken down to fix, not due to public outcry, and would remain at a museum for now. (Read more Christopher Columbus stories.)

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