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City’s Monument Commission to Keep Statues in Place, Will Add Markers

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Christopher Columbus monument

Following months of deliberation and speculation, Mayor de Blasio’s monuments commission has decided against completely tearing down any of the historical statues around the city.  The monumentally anticlimactic ruling was set on Thursday, January 12, as reported by the NY Daily News.  The Upper West Side will keep the controversial statue of Christopher Columbus hovering over the circle named after him.  The city has decided to add a new monument there also honoring other indigenous individuals.  The city will pay to put up new historical markers in and around Columbus Circle to “continue the public discourse”.

Following the fall of Confederate monuments in the south, the Mayor had promised to rid the city of “symbols of hate”.  The Columbus monument was amoung the most controversial, with scores of people including Italian-Americans defending their hero, and yet other groups branding him as a symbol of genocide and colonialism.

The monument of Former President and New York police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, will remain in place outside the American Museum of Natural History.  Half of the members on the commission voted that the statue should be moved because the Native American figures beside him are depicted as caricatures. The city promised to compromise by adding context and educational programs regarding the monument, in partnership with the museum.  Also to remain in place is the marker commemorating a parade thrown in the “Canyon of Heroes” for Henri Philippe Petain.  Later to become a hated Nazi collaborator as the head of Vichy France, his monument will remain but the name “Canyon of Heroes” will be changed and historical information will be added as well.

Not all monuments will remain untouched.  The statue of J. Marion Sims will be relocated from its spot in Central Park out to Greenwood Cemetery, where Sims is buried.  The American physician, who is touted as the “father of modern gynecology”, invented gynecological surgery techniques while experimenting on enslaved black women who did not consent to the operations they underwent.  The city will add plaques to the relocated statue and the existing pedestal in Central Park explaining the history of the statue, and “provide in-depth public dialogues” about non-consensual medical experiments, particularly on colored women.  In addition, the city said it will “commission new work with public input that reflects issues raised by Sims legacy.”

“Thousands of New Yorkers got involved in this process, and there’s been an important conversation going on across the city,” announced Mayor de Blasio. “Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution. Our approach will focus on adding detail and nuance to — instead of removing entirely — the representations of these histories.”  “And we’ll be taking a hard look at who has been left out and seeing where we can add new work to ensure our public spaces reflect the diversity and values of our great city,” he continued.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Don Honda

    01/16/2018 at 4:24 am

    http://www.pottsmerc.com/opinion/20170903/dave-neese-cleaning-up-our-historical-act

    DAVE NEESE: Cleaning up our historical act

    “We must seize this opportunity to indulge ourselves in smug moral righteousness, in “virtue-signaling,” as it has come to be named. “

  2. Don Honda

    01/16/2018 at 4:25 am

    Apparently, “native americans” were not the first “indigenous” people here in North America. Evidence is mounting that they pushed out a previous population of European-centric origin:

    The Smithsonian Magazine:
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-very-first-americans-may-have-had-european-roots-5517714/?no-ist
    The Very First Americans May Have Had European Roots
    Some early Americans came not from Asia, it seems, but by way of Europe

    The Washington Post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/radical-theory-of-first-americans-places-stone-age-europeans-in-delmarva-20000-years-ago/2012/02/28/gIQA4mriiR_story.html
    Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago

    The National Geographic:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/0903_030903_bajaskull.html
    Controversy erupted after skeletal remains were found in Kennewick, Washington, in 1996. This skeleton, estimated to be 9,000 years old, had a long cranium and narrow face—features typical of people from Europe, the Near East or India—rather than the wide cheekbones and rounder skull of an American Indian.

    http://sciencenordic.com/dna-links-native-americans-europeans
    Ancient DNA reveals that the ancestors of modern-day Native Americans had European roots. The discovery sheds new light on European prehistory and also solves old mysteries concerning the colonisation of America.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=europeans+were+the+first+americans&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=sb

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