A Christopher Columbus monument erected 225 years ago in Baltimore was smashed with a sledgehammer in the cover of darkness Monday morning and video of the deed was posted to the YouTube channel Popular Resistance.
The monument is believed to be the oldest in the United States dedicated to the Italian explorer, Baltimore Brew reports. The 44-foot obelisk stands at the intersection of Harford Road and Walther Avenue near Herring Run Park.
The video shows a man in a black hoodie approach the statue with a sledgehammer as a narrator states:
My name is Ty and I live in Baltimore City. We’re walking to the oldest monument to Christopher Columbus in North America. 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.
Racist monuments to slave owners and murderers have always bothered me. Baltimore’s poverty is concentrated in African-American households, and these statues are just an extra slap in the face. They were built in the 20th century in response to a movement for African Americans’ dignity. What kind of a culture goes to such lengths to build such hate-filled monuments? What kind of a culture clings to those monuments in 2017?
The culture of white supremacy proceeded the United States. It’s at the foundation of U.S. culture, business, bureaucracies, and psychology. Observe how vehemently Republican and Democratic misleaders defend genocidal terrorists like Christopher Columbus and George Washington. White supremacy and the systems that sustain it must be replaced, or people will continue to suffer and the planet will continue to die.
Part of our evolution as humans requires tearing down monuments to destructive forces and tearing down systems that maintain them. Part of our evolution is to develop new and ancient systems of democratic economics that center the needs of poor, Indigenous, African-American and brown people.
Before slinging the sledgehammer, the black-clad man tapes up a sign that reads, “The future is racial and economic justice.” Another person appears in the video holding a “Racism: Tear it down” sign as the man breaks a plaque on the monument that reads, “Sacred to the Memory of Chris. Columbus Oct. XII MDCC VIIIC.”