One of the most gratifying changes to witness during this time has been the removal of statues or monuments that represent racist figures. Many of these monuments were erected in order to intimidate people of color and display white supremacy during the 20th-century civil rights movement. Some of these have been removed by local authorities, while many more have been forcibly removed by impassioned activists. No matter the process, the eviction of these symbols of oppression was long overdue.
A statue depicting E.J. Banks, a former Texas Ranger that kept black students from integrating, was removed from Dallas-Love Field airport this week. Aside from the Texas Rangers having a long history of violence against BIPOC, the statue was inscribed with the slogan that just screams police brutality, “One riot – one ranger.” D Magazine states that the statue was going to be replaced by one dedicated to Dallas civil rights lawyer Adelfa Callejo, but that statue was placed elsewhere after resistance.
The Texas Ranger statue that's welcomed travelers at Love Field for decades is modeled after a man who sided with a white mob seeking to stop black kids from integrating Mansfield High School in 1956. This book excerpt prompted its removal this morning. https://t.co/A13U7PFLk0
— D Magazine (@DMagazine) June 4, 2020
Christopher Columbus might be the most infamous figure whose bad deeds are largely glossed over in American history books. The slave owner and genocidal megalomaniac never even set foot in North America. However, his painful legacy is still felt across the country, as a statue of the infamous explorer was found beheaded in Boston.
— NBC10 Boston (@NBC10Boston) June 10, 2020
As the movement against racial injustice goes international, more countries are seeing their racist symbols taken down. A black lives matter protest in Bristol threw a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the harbor.
— BBC Radio Bristol (@bbcrb) June 7, 2020
Local leaders are finally forced to reconcile with history as strong momentum from protesters demanding to remove confederate buildings has gained traction. The former capital of the confederacy (Richmond, Virginia) announced its plan to getting rid of its controversial monument.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 3, 2020
The worldwide protests ignited by the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers has led many to address the history of systemic racism. Though there is undoubtedly a long way to go when reckoning with this nation’s past, the removal of these objects is a small sign towards progress.