Detroit Mayor Orders Christopher Columbus Statue Taken Down, Put Into Storage

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A bust of Christopher Columbus in downtown Detroit was removed by order of the Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Monday.

The 110-year-old statue is currently in storage, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“The mayor decided it ought to be placed in storage to give us time to evaluate the appropriate long-term disposition of the statue,” said John Roach, a spokesman for the mayor’s office.

The Detroit bust of Columbus was dedicated in October of 1910 and was a gift from readers of the Italian newspaper La Tribuna Italiana d’America, according to Historic Detroit. It was sculpted by Augusto Rivalta and stood until recently at East Jefferson Avenue and Randolph Street. The bust was originally gifted in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ death.

Last week, a sign reading “Looter. Rapist. Slave Trader.” was hung around the statue’s neck, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The statue has received pushback before. In 2017, City Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda-López called for the city to remove the bust and to name an Indigenous People’s Day, according to Historic Detroit. There was also a petition to remove the statue that same year, according to WXYZ. The petition garnered more than 1,500 supporters at the time.

Statues of the Italian explorer have been vandalized across the country as part of national Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25.

Columbus statues have also been vandalized or taken down by protesters in Minnesota, Virginia and Philadelphia. Other monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial and a statue of Gen. Casimir Pulask in the National Mall, have also been vandalized during Black Lives Matter protests, according to Fox News.

Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Christopher Columbus in Detroit” by Thom Mann.




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