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
Feb. 11, 2022  Cultural Appropriation
Jan. 22, 2021  Corporate D&I
Oct. 30, 2020  Systemic Racism
Oct. 16, 2020  Monument Protests
Oct. 09, 2020  Police Under Scrutiny Updated
Aug. 23, 2019  Reparations for Slavery
Sep. 07, 2018  The STEM Gender Gap
Jan. 19, 2018  Future of Puerto Rico
Nov. 17, 2017  Affirmative Action and College Admissions
Jul. 28, 2017  Muslims in America
Mar. 10, 2017  Charter Schools
Sep. 23, 2016  Women in Leadership
Aug. 05, 2016  Diversity in Hollywood
May 13, 2016  Women in Combat
Jan. 08, 2016  Racial Conflict
Dec. 11, 2015  Transgender Rights
May 01, 2015  Community Colleges
Apr. 24, 2015  Native American Youths
Apr. 03, 2015  Latino Voters
Dec. 12, 2014  Police Tactics
Sep. 14, 2007  Racial Diversity in Public Schools Updated
Dec. 12, 2003  Black Colleges
Oct. 10, 1997  Diversity in the Workplace
Jan. 20, 1971  Ethnic America
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