As the nation debates exactly which figures in our history deserve public recognition in the form of monuments and statues, the figure presiding over one of Manhattan’s most famous intersections has come under fire.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he may order the removal of the landmark statue of Christopher Columbus, the namesake of Columbus Circle on Central Park, according to the Guardian.
The massive pedestal was erected in 1892 for the 400th anniversary of the explorer landing in the Americas.
The statue is one of dozens of artifacts under review by the city as a “symbol of hate” from the city.
“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take it down,” Jose Simen of the Bronx told the Guardian. “He brought slavery to this country but he also founded it. Somebody else should be up there, but who, I don’t know. Abraham Lincoln? George Washington? Maybe someone who didn’t have slaves.”
However, Italian American groups have been quick to rally behind the monument.
“Our Italian American ancestors, facing bigotry and discrimination, identified Columbus as an Italian celebrated greatly across America for establishing a lasting bridge between the old and new world,” Angelo Vivolo, the president of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, said. [Guardian] —Christopher Cameron