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Barbados Removes Nelson Statue In Break With Colonial Past


BRIDGETOWN, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Barbados removed the statue of British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson from the capital Bridgetown’s main square on Monday, two months after announcing plans to replace Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and move on from its colonial past.

The bronze statue was unveiled in 1813 to commemorate Nelson and the British Royal Navy’s victory over the French and Spanish in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The Caribbean, then largely colonized by Britain, France and Spain, was also an important battleground in the Napoleonic Wars and the ruling-classes and plantation elite had the statue erected to mark his role in the campaigns.

But the statue has been targeted for removal by various administrations since 1990 as a vestige of colonial rule, made even more controversial because of Nelson’s defense of the slave trade upon which Barbados’ plantation economy was based.



Statue of Lord Horatio Nelson in Bridgetown, the capital city of Barbados, an island in the Caribbean. 

The square where it stood was originally called Trafalgar Square but was renamed National Heroes Square in 1999, although Nelson is not on the list of Barbados’ 10 National Heroes.

But it took the global reassessment of history and racism triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer in May this year, to prompt the government into action.

At a ceremony on Monday night, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the government accepted the statue was an “important, historic relic.”

But she said: “It is not a relic to be placed in theNational Heroes Square of a nation that has had to fight for too long to shape its destiny and to forge a positive future for its citizens.”  

Barbados' Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaks during the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New



Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley speaks during the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City on Sept. 23, 2019. 

In a May 1805 letter to his friend Simon Taylor in Jamaica, retired Barbados Community College history tutor Trevor Marshall noted, Nelson wrote that “I have ever been, and shall die, a firm friend of our present Colonial system.”

He went on to denounce “the damnable doctrine” of abolitionists of the day like William Wilberforce.

Nelson was killed on the deck of his flagship HMS Victory by a French sniper at the Battle of Trafalgar off Spain in October that same year. Two years later, Britain abolished the slave trade.

“If Nelson had been alive, the end of slavery would have come even later,” Marshall said.

After decades of overlooking Bridgetown’s principal thorough fare, the Nelson statue will be housed at the Barbados Museum in the Historic Garrison Area.

It joins a number of other statues across the globe, including slave traders in Britain to Confederate generals in the United States, to have been hauled down as the Black Lives Matter campaign gathered momentum.

The famous statue of Nelson in Trafalgar Square in London ― erected about 30 years after the Barbados one ― has also been targeted by activists for removal.

The statue of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson stands atop the Column in Trafalgar Square in London, pictured Jan. 19, 2005.



The statue of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson stands atop the Column in Trafalgar Square in London, pictured Jan. 19, 2005.

Barbados was claimed for England in 1625 and became independent after more than three centuries of colonial rule in 1966. Its present day population of about 287,000 people are mostly the descendants of African slaves brought over to work the plantations.

Moves are underway now for Barbados to ditch Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and to become a republic before the 55th anniversary of its independence next year.

(Editing by Sarah Marsh and Angus MacSwan)





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A Golden Statue for Turkmenistan Leader’s Favorite Dog


Some pet lovers buy treats for their favorite animals. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov of Turkmenistan has taken that a step further, unveiling a 19-foot-tall sculpture of a golden-colored dog to honor his favorite breed, the Central Asian shepherd.

The monument to the dog, tail aloft and head held high, was erected on a pedestal at the center of a traffic circle in the capital, Ashbagat, the state news agency of Turkmenistan said, adding that it reflected the breed’s “pride and self-confidence.”

The statue was unveiled Wednesday in a ceremony complete with exuberant singers and twirling dancers, clouds of colored balloons, and a wraparound television screen on the statue’s base beaming out images of the dogs — the breed is known locally as Alabai — in action, according to footage released on YouTube by the state broadcaster Altyn Asyr.

An Alabai puppy, held by a young child, also made an appearance as Mr. Berdymukhammedov, an autocrat who rules over one of the world’s most repressive governments, watched with evident pride.

Mr. Berdymukhammedov’s love for the Alabai, which has come to symbolize national pride and power, has long been documented. Last year, he released a book about the breed, including a poem he reportedly wrote during a cabinet meeting. At the book’s launch, participants sang songs in honor of the dog in a packed hall.

The president’s son, Serdar Berdymukhammedov, widely seen as a potential successor, is the chair of the Turkmen Alabai Association, which held its first international meeting in August. The government said this month that it was preparing to nominate the dog for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage list as a cultural asset.

The Alabai has traditionally been used for protection and to guard livestock, and can be found across Central Asia in countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The dog statue was unveiled as part of a package of new infrastructure in western Ashgabat, the state news agency said, which also included several high-rise residential buildings and a shopping center.

Mr. Berdymukhammedov, a former dentist who became president in a 2007 election that international observers said was rigged after the death of the nation’s longtime dictator, Saparmurat Niyazov, has a flair for dramatic displays. He has propaganda videos boasting of his athletic prowess and military skill — including one of him shooting a gun.

Dogs are not the only animals that have captured his heart: He also has an affinity for the Akhal-Teke horse, a Turkmen breed known for its physical capabilities and golden sheen. That breed has already been memorialized; in 2015, the Turkmen leader unveiled a 69-foot-high gold statue of himself riding an Akhal-Teke.

The opulent monuments stand in stark contrast with the everyday lives of many in a country that remains impoverished despite rich reserves of natural gas reserves that it largely exports to China.

Mr. Berdymukhammedov rules the country, which gained independence from Soviet rule in 1991, with an autocratic hand, controlling all media and punishing unsanctioned forms of religious and political expression.

Western human rights organizations are banned from Turkmenistan, and Human Rights Watch calls it “one of the most repressive and closed countries in the world.”



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Politics

Virginia State Board Unanimously Approves Removing Downtown Richmond Robert E. Lee Statue


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – JUNE 06: Protesters gather around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue on June 6, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia, amidst protests over the death of George Floyd in police custody. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced plans to remove the statue. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images)

A Virginia state review board has unanimously approved removing a statue of Robert E. Lee from downtown Richmond.

The left has been on a mission to tear down statues and monuments by holding historic figures to modern “woke” standards.

The Hill reports that “the plan still hinges on a court’s review of Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) power to remove the monument, though aides to Northam have said he’s determined to remove the statue.”

“The governor is committed to the removal of this statue,” Joe Damico, director of the Virginia Department of General Services, told the Art and Architectural Review Board on Friday. “From my perspective, as soon as the lawsuit is settled and the way is clear, we will work very quickly to remove the statue from the pedestal.”

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The pedestal has been completely vandalized since the race riots that swept the nation.

The statue is a national historic landmark and was installed in 1890.

Following the conclusion of the Civil War, in 1865, Lee became president of Washington College in Virginia and supported reconciliation between North and South.





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Theodore Roosevelt statue will be removed from the front steps of the Museum of Natural History


Following the museum’s request to remove the statue, which features the nation’s 26th President on a horse with a Native American man standing on one side and an African man standing on the other, the mayor’s office announced the approval.

“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” de Blasio’s office said in a statement to CNN. “The city supports the museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”

While it was meant to celebrate Roosevelt as a “devoted naturalist and author of works on natural history,” the statue also “communicates a racial hierarchy that the museum and members of the public have long found disturbing,” a press release on the museum’s website said.

No date has been set for the removal and the mayor’s office is still working to determine next steps, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office told CNN Sunday.

A controversial Confederate monument goes down in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur
The statue, titled “Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt” was commissioned in 1925 and made its debut in 1940 as part of the state’s larger memorial to Roosevelt, according to the museum.

“To understand the statue, we must recognize our country’s enduring legacy of racial discrimination — as well as Roosevelt’s troubling views on race,” the press release said. “We must also acknowledge the museum’s own imperfect history. Such an effort does not excuse the past but it can create a foundation for honest, respectful, open dialogue.”

Last week, in neighboring New Jersey, trustees at Monmouth University voted to remove President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the campus’s Great Hall.
“Wilson was a controversial politician, who never actually set foot in the current building,” university president Patrick Leahy said in a statement to students on Juneteenth. “Removing his name, and incorporating these earlier names, connects the centerpiece of our campus more accurately to our historical roots and eliminates a symbolic barrier to the important work of creating a truly welcoming and inclusive space in the Great Hall.”

The school will instead honor its lead designer Julian Abele, one of the first professional trained African American architects, according to a statement from the university.

Wilson, for whom the Princeton University Public and International Affairs school is named for, once called racial segregation “a benefit” and defended the enslavement of Black people by saying slaves “were happy and well-cared for.”
He also denied admission to African American men and sought to exclude them from the school’s history when he was president of the university in 1902.



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Confederate statue: Women led the fight to keep it out of her county


Now 65, she remembered seeing crosses burning in the distance and drinking from a water fountain with signs that read “colored” and “white only.” As she approached the Old Lake County Courthouse, the fear she felt as a girl walking those same streets rushed through her body.

“I think about the Black men that were beaten there and tortured there,” Hazelton said.

But she also remembered her grandmother Nellie Virginia Burkes’ wise words, “Fight… for what is right.”

Hazelton has been in the fight of her life for the past two years.

It started in June 2018, when she learned that the statue of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith was scheduled to move from the US Capitol to the Old Lake County Courthouse.
That’s the same courthouse where in 1949 four young African American men, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas — known as the Groveland Four — were accused of a crime they didn’t commit, tortured and subjected to racially motivated oppression.
 A tribute to George Floyd rests on the memorial erected for the Groveland Four at the Old Lake County 
Courthouse.
A memorial for the Groveland Four was erected outside the Old Lake County Courthouse last year, when the young men were posthumously pardoned.

“The brutality and injustice that these men endured resulted in the wrongful death of Mr. Thomas and Mr. Shepherd, and the unfair incarcerations of Mr. Irvin and Mr. Greenlee,” the plaque on the memorial reads.

Standing by the memorial, Hazelton said that moving a Confederate statue into a government-owned building known for its racism and oppression against African Americans was just wrong.

“It’s evil and wrong and we shouldn’t have it here in our community,” Hazelton said.

The statue was headed to the County Historical Society

Determined to figure out how a Confederate statue with no link to Lake County could be moved into the community without public input, Hazelton and a group of residents formed a nonprofit organization called Lake County Voices of Reason. And they set off on a mission to uncover the truth.

Members of the Lake County Voices of Reason discuss their strategy against the plan to move a Confederate statue into their community.

They found that in June 2018, Bob Grenier, the curator of the Lake County Historical Society, requested and applied for the Kirby Smith statue to a Florida Department of State committee in Tallahassee.

In a video of the meeting available online through the Florida Channel, Grenier said he had been working to bring the statue to Lake County for two years. He said he had the support of all five Lake County Commissioners.

“I’ve got emails from them saying ‘Go get it Bob. Get the statue, bring it back to Lake County,'” Grenier said from a podium.

A year ago, eight mayors, representing 146,165 residents — or 40% of the population in Lake County — wrote a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opposing the statue’s arrival in their county.

A Florida county declared itself a 'Second Amendment Sanctuary.' It's not the first to do so

“Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith had no connection to Lake County and his (statue’s) presence would create a negative and hurtful message in our community,” the letter read.

Kirby Smith was born in St. Augustine, located in St. Johns County, on May 16, 1824. His statue was moved to National Statuary Hall at the US Capitol in 1922. In 2019 DeSantis officially requested the Kirby Smith statue be replaced by a statue of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American civil rights activist and educator.

During a 2019 Lake County Board of County Commissioners meeting, residents spoke for and against the statue.

“As a descendent of Confederate veterans and slave owners, the least I can do to atone for the pain my family has caused them is to oppose this statue,” Grace Arnold said.

“These statues only exist in a sick attempt to preserve human slavery,” Choice Edwards said.

Commission Chair Leslie Campione defended the statue, saying the display would not glorify the man nor the Confederacy.

“It will describe Smith’s military service and will tell about his career as a professor, as a botanist following the Civil War,” Campione said. “And his friendship with Dr. Alexander Darnes, who became the first Black doctor in Jacksonville.”

“Alexander Darnes was Kirby Smith’s slave. Period,” Hazelton said.

She remembered her grandmother’s words

As news spread of Confederate statues tumbling across the US in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Hazelton broke down in tears. But she wasn’t defeated. She was ready to keep fighting.

“I will lay my body across the front of that [courthouse] and they will have to arrest me before they put the statue there,” Hazelton said.

When asked what made her keep going, Hazelton said it was those wise words from her grandmother.

“My grandmother was illiterate, but my grandmother said, ‘You fight,'” Hazelton said. “She said, ‘You fight for what is right or you lay down for what’s wrong.'”

Mae Hazelton gives a kiss to her grandmother, Nellie Virginia Burkes.

A few days after CNN interviewed Hazelton and requested interviews with Campione and Grenier, which were denied, Campione had a change of heart during a public county commissioner meeting.

“I believe that this entire situation has created really unnecessary strife and division in our community and I know that it’s harmed my relationship with some of my friends in the Black community,” Campione said last Tuesday.

Hazelton was present at the meeting and says the tension in the room was palpable.

Finally, Lake County Commissioners announced a plan to ask Florida to find the statue a new home.

An American flag on West Main Street in Tavares, Florida.

Hazelton says her voice was “sick with emotion” because “African Americans don’t prevail a lot in Lake County” and that day, they had won the fight.

“We are in an inflection point in this country and it is painful. Commissioner Campione, I heard the pain in your voice this morning. Thank you,” Hazelton said from the podium during the public comment period. “But nothing is as painful as staying at a point where you know that’s not who we are.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the first name of Mae Hazelton in a caption.



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Christopher Columbus statue will be removed from California state house


The statue, titled “Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella,” has been in the center of the California Capitol Rotunda since 1883, when it was first gifted to the state. In a joint statement, legislative leadership called the statue “completely out of place.”

“Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations,” the announcement from Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Assembly Rules Committee Chair Ken Cooley reads.

“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,” the statement says.
Why Christopher Columbus wasn't the hero we learned about in school
In response to the nationwide protests and conversation surrounding racial inequality, people have been tearing down statues of Columbus to bring awareness to the cruelty he brought upon indigenous people. Columbus has long been a contentious figure in history for his treatment of the indigenous communities he encountered and for his role in the violent colonization at their expense.
In recent years, many cities and states have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, in recognition of the pain and terror caused by Columbus and other European explorers.
Honoring the unforgivable
Earlier this week, in Chula Vista, California, a different Christopher Columbus statue was moved by the city to storage, citing public safety concerns hours before a planned protest to push for its removal, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. And in Sacramento, a statue honoring John Sutter, the explorer and colonizer who spurred the California Gold Rush was removed from outside an eponymous local hospital.
According to the California State Capitol Museum, the Columbus statue in the rotunda is no stranger to controversy. During the capitol’s restoration, Native American and Latino groups recommended the relocation of the statue, but it was ultimately returned to its spot in the middle of the rotunda.
Many state lawmakers lauded the announcement by state leadership. California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales, chair of the Latino Caucus, wrote on Twitter that “It’s important that children today learn the difference between real heroes and fake ones.”





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Celebrity Entertaiment

David Beckham Takes All 4 Kids to See His Statue for First Time




David Beckham Takes All 4 Kids to See His Statue for First Time | PEOPLE.com
























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