A committee of the New York City Council is reportedly poised to vote Tuesday on a proposal that might result in the removal of monuments honouring individuals such as George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
The proposal before the NYC Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations requires public art depicting someone with a connection to slavery or crimes against humanity to be removed or replaced with a “explanatory plaque.”
According to Republican lawmakers and other critics, the idea is an attempt to rewrite history and denigrate the people who founded America.
There are numerous statues of Washington, the nation’s first president and military commander during the American Revolution, throughout the city, including one in front of Federal Hall, which housed the nation’s first Congress, executive branch offices, and Supreme Court. In Union Square Park, there are also memorials honoring Washington, as well as a statue of Washington and the Frenchman Marquis de Lafayette, who fought alongside the Americans during the American Revolution.
Monuments commemorating Dutch explorer and settler Peter Stuyvesant, Founding Father John Jay, and significant early New York political figure and Erie Canal supporter DeWitt Clinton may also be targeted.
Officials in New York City have already removed a statue of Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson from the city council buildings, as well as a statue of President Teddy Roosevelt from in front of the Natural History Museum.