Monument Protests

October 16, 2020 • Volume 30, Issue 37
Should Confederate statues be removed?
By Reed Karaim


Monuments honoring historic figures are being removed by local officials or have been toppled or defaced by protesters across the nation this year. Many honored Confederate generals and officials, but monuments to Christopher Columbus, Spanish missionaries and Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who both held slaves, also have come under attack. The call to remove Confederate monuments and symbols from public spaces is not new, but it reached a new level of intensity this summer as part of a mass protest movement demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality toward minorities. Opponents of the monuments say they honor men whose actions violated fundamental American beliefs in equality and justice. Confederate statues are especially offensive, opponents say, because they exalt traitors who rebelled against the U.S. government to defend slavery and were erected in the South as expressions of white supremacy during the Jim Crow era of segregation. The statues' defenders say they memorialize personal courage or leadership and removing them is an attempt to erase history.

Protesters try to topple a statue of President Andrew Jacksonin Lafayette Square on June 22. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)
Protesters try to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson on June 22 in Lafayette Square across from the White House. Jackson's policies and actions forced many Native Americans off their lands. While some local officials have removed monuments honoring controversial historic figures, protesters have defaced and pulled down others and called for the removal of many more. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Historic Preservation
Oct. 16, 2020  Monument Protests
Dec. 06, 2019  The Future of Museums
Jul. 05, 2019  Historic Preservation
Oct. 07, 1994  Historic Preservation
Feb. 10, 1984  Historic Preservation
Oct. 04, 1972  Historic Preservation
Civil Rights Movement
Civil Rights: African Americans
Civil Wars
Congress Actions
Conservatism and Liberalism
Crime and Law Enforcement
Freedom of Speech and Press
General Social Trends
Hate Groups
Historic Preservation
Internet and Social Media
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Race and Hate Crimes