New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito suggested that the famous 76-foot statue honoring explorer Christopher Columbus in New York City’s Columbus Circle should be among the monuments to be considered for removal, reported The New York Post.
Mark-Viverito also called for the withdrawal of Dr. J. Marion Sims statue at 103rd street and 5th Avenue in New York. Sims has been criticized for using slaves for the purpose of medical experiments.
Columbus, usually thought of by Americans as a great ocean navigator, has been accused of being a marauder, and of treating natives poorly.
“I would definitely encourage them to take a look at that one as well,” Mark-Viverito said when asked about the towering statue of Columbus, which was a gift from Italian Americans to the city in 1892.
“There obviously has been ongoing dialogue and debate in the Caribbean — particularly in Puerto Rico where I’m from — about this same conversation that there should be no monument or statue of Christopher Columbus based on what he signifies to the native population… [the] oppression and everything that he brought with him,” she added.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was peppered with questions Tuesday over his quest to review monuments around the city that could be offensive to individuals.
According to The Post, the mayor had little to say when asked about whether other historical figures honored in stone or metal in the city, like Ulysses S. Grant and New York Gov. Horatio Seymour, could be targeted for removal.
During the Civil War, Grant issued an order to expunge Jews from three different states and Seymour’s campaign slogan in 1868 was “This is a White Man’s Country; Let White Men Rule.”
“We’re trying to unpack 400 years of American history here — that’s really what’s going on,” de Blasio said.
“This is complicated stuff. But you know it’s a lot better to be talking about it and trying to work through it than ignoring it because I think for a lot of people in this city and in this country, they feel that their history has been ignored or affronts to their history have been tolerated.”