From Columbus to Confederates, anger about statues boils over
By Sarah Mervosh, Simon Romero and Lucy Tompkins
The boiling anger that exploded in the days after George Floyd gasped his final breaths is now fueling a national movement to topple perceived symbols of racism and oppression in the United States, as protests over police brutality against African Americans expand to include demands for a more honest accounting of all American history.
In Portland, Oregon, demonstrators protesting against police killings turned their ire to Thomas Jefferson, toppling a statue of the Founding Father who also enslaved more than 600 people. In Richmond, Virginia, a statue of Italian navigator and colonizer Christopher Columbus was spray-painted, set on fire and thrown into a lake.
And in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tensions over a statue of Juan de Oñate, a 16th-century colonial governor exiled from New Mexico over cruel treatment of Native Americans, erupted in street skirmishes and a blast of gunfire before the monument was removed Tuesday.