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Monument Fall in the USA: why protesters demand the demolition of historical monuments

The monument to the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt was the last "victim" of the movement for the demolition of monuments that symbolize colonial expansion and racial discrimination. The Museum of Natural History in New York decided to demolish a bronze sculpture depicting Roosevelt on a horse, and next to it walking African and Native Americans.

Photo: Shutterstock

Anil Korkut conducts excursions for tourists in New York. He supports the demolition of the statue, which he calls "the textbook misconception of racial equality."

“I think the authors of the monument did this on purpose. But there is an opinion that it is impossible to equate a white president with African and Native Americans. And, yes, if someone is upset by this, then we do not worship the monuments. Why not tear it down? ” - says Korkut.

But not everyone agrees with the plan to remove the monument. Among the opponents of the idea is New Yorker Joseph Bolanos.

“I think it’s terrible when you start destroying history and monuments ... There were other times, now everything is different,” Bolanos says and adds: “And we must remember how we have come through history through now. Obviously, Stalin did the same before World War II to destroy history. ”

Tourist Jennifer Mitchell of the same opinion: “I think it is very sad, you can not judge those people by modern standards. He was a wonderful leader, and this monument does not humiliate anyone, they go next to him. "

In the case of Roosevelt, the problem lies precisely in this sculpture, says Eric Roachway, a historian and author of a book about the 26th president. According to him, this monument represents a certain racial hierarchy, and even a descendant of Roosevelt himself said that he would not want the president to be remembered that way.

“In his life, Theodore Roosevelt, roughly speaking, expressed two different versions of American nationalism. One is inclusive, it spoke of Americans recognizing different people who were not considered Americans at that time. And this is what we would like to remember, ”Roachway emphasizes. - He also very much supported colonialism and expansion to the West, in particular capture by force of native inhabitants. I think the statue represents this. "

Another figure in American history, causing more and more debate in society, is the navigator Christopher Columbus. For some, he is a pioneer, for others, an oppressor of the indigenous population and the initiator of the slave trade.

In a number of cities, demonstrators, among other things, decapitate, defame, or seek the demolition of Columbus' monuments, but in New York, Democratic politicians — Mayor De Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo — opposed. Since then, the monument has been guarded by the police.

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In Washington, thanks to the police, the monument to President Andrew Jackson stood. Demonstrators who wished to overthrow the monument right in front of the White House were dispersed. Activists say the seventh president of the United States is a slave owner, and he is guilty of the deaths of thousands of Native Americans.

Other demonstrations in a number of American cities ended with great success, where people demanded to dismantle the monuments to the American Confederate Army generals. In particular, this happened in North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Minnesota, Georgia, Virginia.

Lopez Matthews, a researcher at Howard University, explains the motivation of the demonstrators: “Almost two hundred years have passed since the end of slavery, and we are still struggling with racism, police brutality, and unequal treatment. And these monuments to the Confederates symbolize the past, but the fictional past, because they embody the myth of the old South. ”

The myth of the Old South is the notion that during slavery, plantations flourished and black slaves were happy and joyful. Many cities still have many such monuments.

“In almost every southern state, there is a Confederate monument in the square near the court,” said Sarah Beath, a lecturer at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts. - Often these were places where victims were lynched. Monuments are inextricably linked to this. And, besides the idea of ​​the superiority of the white race, financed by the state, they cannot be considered.

Speaking to supporters in Oklahoma, President Donald Trump commented on the demolition movement: “An abnormal left-wing flock is trying to mutilate our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments.”

Meanwhile, the Democrats want to get rid of the Confederate statues in the US Capitol, but the Republicans vetoed the initiative. The Capitol has two monuments to figures who have made a significant contribution to the history of each of the 50 states of America. Who exactly will represent them was decided by the states themselves. Of the hundred sculptures 12 are monuments to the Confederates.

Kore Booker, Democratic Senator, emphasized: “Preserving these monuments is disrespectful of African Americans and the ideals of our nation.”

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In response, Republican Senator Roy Blunt said that "such actions would violate our agreements with the states."

The U.S. Civil War began in 1861, when 13 states in the south of the country self-proclaimed the Confederation against the abolition of slavery. In the XNUMXth century, the Confederate flag and monuments to the generals of the army of the South became for many a symbol of opposition to the African American civil rights movement, a manifestation of the idea of ​​the superiority of the white race and racial inequality. And for many residents of southern America, the flag symbolizes pride in the heritage, freedom of each state and the memory of the American Civil War.

The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".

ForumDaily is not responsible for the content of blogs and may not share the views of the author. If you want to become the author of the column, send your materials to kolonka@forumdaily.com.

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