Thumbnail from Donovan Reeves.
Believe it or not, roughly 1,700 Confederate monuments are still scattered about the United States. Some of those are located in states that didn’t even exist during the Civil War. Those statues—among our many busts of bigots, monuments for murders, and sculptures of sexists—need to exit their public spheres for good.
By acknowledging and removing symbols of our past oppressors, we spark discourse regarding our values. We digest the injustice that has built our country. We do something about injustice moving forward.
While we can’t catch them all in one list, here’s where to find figures that need to be thrown into a river (or perhaps strongly brought to your local representatives’ attention, if that’s more your style) ASAP.
Depictions of Christopher Columbus
He’s a notorious colonizer, criminal, murderer, and tyrant. It just seems counterintuitive—if not heinous—to keep his monuments around. 22 states (looking at you especially, New Jersey) still have at least one Christopher Columbus statue imposing on public space. Check to see if he’s encroaching on your city here:
An Appalling Number of Confederate Monuments
Statues of generals, Civil War memorials, plaques, and more are still glorifying a truly ugly point in our history. Find them mapped near you:
Here’s a data set derived from the same map, courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
To remove monuments dedicated to murderers, bigots, and sexists alike is not to erase history, but to take part in it. Let’s quit celebrating the figures that embody a painful past. Let’s begin to move forward instead. If you find your city riddled with questionable monuments, contact your local officials, sign petitions, take action, and honor those who have contributed positively to our world instead.
Is it necessary to remove monuments for oppressive figures and events?
Off with their heads.
They should be available to view in private museums and collections.
I’m cool with Columbus staying in my local public park.