Court Says Christopher Columbus Statue Stays Right Where It is–For Now.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Christopher Columbus monument at Plaza Cristobal Colon in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The origins of this monument are obscure, but it appears to have been erected in 1894.
- Advertisement -

An appeals court in  Pennsylvania has given its support to a 13-ft statue of Christopher Columbus that opponents want to have removed from a public park in the city of Pittsburgh.

The case was filed by the Italian Sons and Daughters of America filed after the Pittsburgh Art Commission voted to remove the statue.

The appeals court did reject the group’s challenge to McVay’s refusal to remove himself from the case.

Philadelphia attorney George Bochetto, who filed the lawsuit and subsequent appeal on behalf of the Italian group, hailed the ruling and called on the new mayor to “sit down with me to reach a resolution without further costly litigation.”

The Schenley Park statue, vandalized several times, was wrapped in plastic in 2020, but local news reports indicate that much of the covering has since worn away or perhaps been removed, although the head remains covered.

Disputes over Columbus statues have caused conflict in other cities across the United States, including Philadelphia on the other side of the state, where supporters in a city with a deep Italian heritage say they consider Columbus an emblem of that heritage.

Columbus never set foot in what is now the United States.

Former Mayor Jim Kenney, however, said Columbus, venerated for centuries as the sailer and explorer to discovered the Americas, or at least the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico,  for Europe, had a “much more infamous” history, enslaving Indigenous people and imposing harsh punishments, and that he should not therefore be honored with a statue in a public park.

Columbus is alleged to have cut off the hands of indigenous people in what is now the Dominican Republic (formerly known as the island of Hispaniola) if they did not meet targets for mining or panning rivers for gold.

After 2020 protests about racial injustice and the statue, Kenney ordered the 1876 statue’s removal, calling it a matter of public safety. But a judge reversed that decision, saying the city had failed to provide evidence of a public safety need for removal.

In December 2022, a plywood box covering the statue in the Pennsylvania park was removed by judicial order. The group that fought for retention of the statue and removal of the covering filed suit last year alleging that officials conspired to abuse the legal process in trying to remove the statue, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Columbus statues have been removed in nearby Camden, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware. In Richmond, Virginia, a statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down, set on fire and thrown into a lake. In Columbia, South Carolina, the first U.S. city named for Columbus, a statue of the explorer was removed after it was vandalized several times. Another vandalized statue in Boston also was removed from its pedestal.

Christopher Columbus is believed to have have come from Genoa in Italy. In the service of the King of Spain, he made four transatlantic voyages to the Caribbean and Central America.

The current whereabouts of his bones are a matter of disagreement, as both the Dominican Republic and Spain lay claim to possessing his remains.

Source: VOA, AP, others.
- Advertisement -