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Tue Jun 23, 2020, 04:15 PM

Toppling of Statues Triggers Reckoning Over Nation's History (Wall Street Journal)


Activists across the country are targeting statues of former U.S. presidents and other well-known figures, escalating a campaign that previously focused on Confederate generals and prompting a national reckoning over the value and meaning of historical monuments.

As protests over racial injustice continue in major U.S. cities, activists have forcefully removed statues and monuments honoring historical figures who owned slaves or participated in the oppression of minority groups.

In Portland, Ore., last week, protesters tore down statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom owned slaves. On Friday in San Francisco, activists toppled a statue of former President Ulysses S. Grant, who led the Union army during the Civil War but also owned a slave, whom he emancipated before the war, and lived on a plantation where he oversaw slaves.

And in Washington on Monday, activists tried to pull down a statue of former President Andrew Jackson but were blocked by police.

“When I look at these statues of white supremacists, it is just a constant reminder of the struggle that my ancestors had to face,” said Kerrigan Williams, a co-founder of the Freedom Fighters DC activist group.

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