A 225-year-old memorial to Christopher Columbus has been vandalized in a Baltimore park amid a national re-examination of statues depicting historical figures seen to have defended institutional racism or slavery.
The Baltimore Brew, which first reported the incident, says the 44-foot obelisk was thought to be the oldest standing memorial in the U.S. to the explorer credited with discovering America.
A two-minute video posted to YouTube on Monday appeared to claim responsibility for the destruction. It shows a person in the darkness with a sledgehammer repeatedly striking at the plaque on the facing of the monument, which read, “Sacred to the Memory of Chris. Columbus Oct. XII MDCC VIIIC.”
A second person can be seen in the video holding a sign that reads, “Racism, tear it down,” while another sign affixed to the monument reads: “The future is racial and economic justice.”
In the video, a narrator who identifies himself as “Ty” and says he lives in Baltimore, explains that “racist monuments to slave owners and murderers have always bothered me.”
“Christopher Columbus symbolizes the initial invasion of European capitalism into the Western Hemisphere. Columbus initiated a centuries-old wave of terrorism, murder, genocide, rape, slavery, ecological degradation and capitalist exploitation of labor in the Americas. That Columbian wave of destruction continues on the backs of indigenous, African-American and brown people,” the narrator says…