The removal of statues around the United States has become commonplace, but now it’s extended beyond just Confederate generals. Columbus, OH, is removing a statue dedicated to the city’s namesake. Christopher Columbus has long been a controversial figure due to his brutal treatment of indigenous peoples during his explorations. To address Columbus’ problematic history, the city decided to remove a Christopher Columbus statue from outside City Hall.
At dawn on July 1, 2020, workers scaled the 20-foot statue and began the process of tearing it down. The statue had stood for 65 years, after being gifted to the city by Genoa, Italy, where the explorer was born.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced two weeks ago that the statue would be taken down and placed in storage. “For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression, and divisiveness. That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past.”
The fall of the statue signals a potential larger shift in the national attitude toward Columbus, and by extension, Columbus Day. Many have called for the holiday to no longer be recognized over recent years. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver famously did a segment called “Columbus Day: How Is This Still a Thing?” back in 2014. If this Ohio city can take down a statue of its own namesake, the rest of the country may be more inclined to put this controversial holiday behind it.
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