The great thing about holiday traditions is that they can always be updated to be more inclusive and actively reflect a contemporary understanding of a nation’s history. This Independence Day, a group of protesters in Baltimore celebrated by toppling a Christopher Columbus statue and tossing it into the nearby Inner Harbor.
A video was taken on the scene by Louis Krauss, who has covered the statue’s defenders and detractors for the Baltimore Brew. According to Baltimore Brew reporting, activists had warned Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young via Twitter that an action was planned around the statue, but there were no definitive measures taken to prevent the public intervention.
Krauss said there were at least 300 people gathered at the scene in Baltimore’s Little Italy, where the statue has stood for 30 years. This and other effigies of Columbus nationwide have been a point of contention for quite some time, and the removal of the statue comes on the heels of City Councilman Ryan Dorsey’s push to rename a Columbus monument in northeast Baltimore, and then other lawmakers pushing to protect and preserve Baltimore’s Columbus statues.
As quoted by CNN and other sources, Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott released a statement late Saturday night, saying: “I suggested that the last administration remove this statue when they removed the Confederate monuments. I support Baltimore’s Italian-American community and Baltimore’s indigenous community. I cannot, however, support Columbus.”
Some may argue that public destruction of property is never an appropriate response to a situation — except, obviously, when a sports team either loses or wins a big game — but I submit that in truth, there is no more time-honored observation of American independence than to throw something we don’t like into a harbor.