Protestors are not playing games when it comes to removing Confederate and imperialists statues.
After the deaths of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Rayshard Brooks to police violence, activists are re-energized for a cause that’s been growing for the past couple of years.
In 2017, efforts were especially strong to remove Confederate monuments after nine Black churchgoers of Emanuel A.M.E. were killed in Charleston, South Carolina, by a self-described white supremacist in 2015. The planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia two years later received so much backlash that it inspired the violent “Unite the Right” rally. The packed demonstration was filled with Ku Klux Klan members, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The rally resulted in the death of Heather Heyer by another self-described white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr.
Today, Black people continue to face death from law enforcement and racist violence. Disturbing imagery from the past has also witnessed an uptick in media coverage with Black people being found hanging from trees and nooses being left in race car garages.
It’s clear that the removal of Confederate imagery is one absolute way to anger racists.
But this hasn’t stopped the movement. All across the country Confederate monuments are being vandalized or taken down. Just this past Friday on Juneteenth, protestors toppled a statue of Albert Pike, a senior Confederate States Army officer, in the Judiciary Square neighborhood of Washington D.C.
Some cities and local governments aren’t even waiting for protestors to take statues down. Instead, politicians are making moves themselves to have monuments removed. In Norfolk, Virginia, a statue of the soldier Johnny Reb was lifted off its pedestal as a first phase of removing the Confederate monument. On June 11, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander announced that the monument would be removed, saying it’s “continued presence could lead to injury or violence and therefore must be immediately removed,” according to CNN. Cities are also removing Confederate monuments in places like Louisville, Kentucky as well as Jacksonville, Florida.
People aren’t just coming after Confederate figures either. Anyone linked to white imperialism or the institution of slavery is also a target. For example, on Monday, protestors in D.C. tried to remove a statue of former President Andrew Jackson, who owned slaves and also contributed to the displacement of thousands of indigenous people during the U.S. expansion of the 1800s. Protestors were unsuccessful with their removal of the D.C. statue due to law enforcement using pepper spray to clear demonstrators, according to The Hill.
Italian explorer, colonizer and slave enthusiast Christopher Columbus has also been condemned with protestors beheading and toppling his monuments across the country.
You can check out some photos and videos of America’s racist history tumbling down below.
1. Confederate Soldiers and Sailors MonumentSource:Getty
2. Robert E. Lee statueSource:Getty
3. Confederate general Albert PikeSource:Getty
4. Charles Linn of the Confederate Navy
5. Robert E. Lee statue in front of Robert E. Lee High School
6. Portsmouth Confederate monument
7. Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham
8. North Carolina Confederate monument
Raleigh, North Carolina
9. Christopher Columbus
Saint Paul, Minnesota