Early this morning, the statue of Christopher Columbus in North End Park, Boston, was discovered decapitated. The severed head of the statue was found on the ground even as the body remained on the pedestal.
The decapitation of the statue comes amidst the burgeoning anti-racism movement spreading across the United States in wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the statue will be taken down and placed in storage. Addressing a press conference Walsh said, “We are going to be taking the statue down this morning, putting it into storage to assess the damage of the statue.” He added, “Given the conversations that we’re certainly having right now in our city of Boston and throughout the country, we’re also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of the statue.”
This is not the first time the statue was beheaded. The first beheading occurred in 2006. Then in 2015, red paint was poured over the statue and the words “Black Lives Matter” were spray painted at the base.
The incident in Boston comes just hours after another statue of Columbus in Byrd Park, in Richmond, Virginia, was removed and tossed into a lake late last night.
But it didn’t end there. Another statue of Christopher Columbus outside the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul was pulled down. A video by WCCO journalist Nick Streiff of people cheering as the statue toppled over went viral shortly afterwards.
Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer whose voyages across the Atlantic were funded by 15th Century Spanish monarchs, is widely seen as the man who enabled the colonization of the Americas by Europeans. As the influence of colonizers, over how the historical narrative is shaped, reduces, Columbus is no longer seen as a hero figure, but as someone who benefited from slave trade and contributed to bringing many deadly diseases that wiped out indigenous American populations.
*Feature Image: The fallen Christopher Columbus statue outside the Minnesota State Capitol is loaded onto a flatbed truck to be hauled away after a group led by American Indian Movement members tore it down in St. Paul, Minnesota, on June 10, 2020. Picture by Tony Webster courtesy Wikimedia Commons.