Detroit Removes 110-Year-Old Bust of Christopher Columbus

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, talks Thursday, April 23, 2020 in Detroit about the initiative to give about 51,000 K-12 public school students in Detroit computer tablets and high-speed internet to help transition from classroom to virtual learning during the coronavirus pandemic. As schools closed in March as part of the …
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

A bust of explorer Christopher Columbus was removed Monday from its base in downtown Detroit, Michigan, and placed in storage.

Mayor Mike Duggan (D) had the 110-year-old bust, located near the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel’s entrance, taken down so city officials could decide what to do with it, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The article continued:

Last week, a sign that read  “Looter. Rapist. Slave Trader.” was placed around the neck of the bust. It was one in a series of attacks on depictions of the explorer across the nation.

Below the three words, the sign continues with the Ojibwe phrase, “Debwen maadash ge gwaya da wiindmaage,” which translates to, “Tell the truth or someone is telling.”

Following its removal, Duggan said he had been bothered for a while by how the statue occupied “such a place of prominence next to City Hall,” according to MLive.com.

“But when I looked at some of the violence around the country, in particular, you’ve got people with arms gathering around a Columbus statue in Philadelphia arguing with people,” he stated.

The mayor’s comments appeared to reference a recent incident when a group of people gathered to protect another Columbus statue in South Philadelphia over the weekend.

“We’re preserving culture. We’re preserving heritage and history. This has nothing to do with racism,” one man at the event told NBC Philadelphia.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, on Wednesday, protesters tore down another statue of the 15th Century explorer that stood outside the state’s Capitol building, according to Breitbart News.

A rope was placed around its neck and the statue pulled to the ground while bystanders clapped and cheered:

“State Patrol troopers in helmets, who provide security in the Capitol complex, stood by at a distance but did not try to stop the protesters, who celebrated afterward with Native American singing and drumming,” the article noted.

Duggan said Monday that he wanted to talk with residents about what to do with the bust of Columbus that was a gift to the city from readers of an Italian newspaper, La Tribuna Italiana d’America, in 1910.

“We should have a conversation as a community as to what is the appropriate place for such a statue. But I don’t want to have that conversation … at gunpoint or in the middle of argument,” he concluded.

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