California to remove Columbus statue from state Capitol after 137 years

www.politico.com
3 min read
difficult
The announcement comes as public sentiment sours against monuments to historical figures seen as racist or imperialist.
The Columbus-Isabella statue in the Capitol in Sacramento. | AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli California to remove Columbus statue from state Capitol after 137 years

SACRAMENTO — California legislative leaders said Tuesday that a statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella will be removed from the Capitol rotunda, where it was installed in 1883.

The announcement comes as public sentiment sours against monuments to historical figures seen as racist or imperialist, with institutions and demonstrators alike taking down statues amid protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The protest movement has forced leaders to reevaluate European-centric monuments in the United States.

Advertisement

"Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations," Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assembly Rules Chair Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) said in a statement. "The continued presence of this statue in California's Capitol, where it has been since 1883, is completely out of place today. It will be removed."

California eliminated Columbus Day as a state worker holiday in 2009 — not as a protest move, but to save money during the Great Recession.

California law still lists Columbus Day as a state holiday on the second Monday in October, though it is not as widely celebrated here as elsewhere in the U.S. and is…
Read full article