Judge Orders Philadelphia to Remove Plywood Box Covering Columbus Statute

Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick issued an order on Friday that Mayor Jim Kenney and the city of Philadelphia must remove the plywood box covering a statue of Christopher Columbus. The 144-year-old statue was covered up due to protests that the explorer represents racial injustice and abuse. Other Columbus statues have been destroyed, including one in Baltimore. When asked about that destruction, Speaker Nancy Pelosi shrugged and said “people will do what they do.”  For his part, Kenney has announced that his administration will appeal the ruling in an effort to keep Columbus covered from public view.

Kenney’s spokesperson declared that keeping the statue from being seen is “in the best interest and public safety of all Philadelphians.”

Patrick previously ruled that the statue could remain in the plaza and called the effort to remove it “baffling.” She also found that the city had failed to provide evidence that the statue’s removal was necessary to protect the public, calling the confrontations “isolated civil unrest.”

What is worrisome is whether protesters will now view the court’s opinion as an enticement to show that the protests were not “isolated” and renew efforts to destroy the artwork. Previously, an Antifa leader located at George Washington University declared “we are winning” after efforts to topple historical monuments in Washington.  He might be right. Indeed, academics have joined the calls for removing a wide array of statues to historical figures and some have even joined in efforts to destroy or deface them.

Many agree with the criticism of Columbus as a historical figure, criticisms raised particularly by the Native American community that he is a genocidal figure. Columbus and other statues have been removed in cities like Chicago.

I have long opposed the sweeping efforts to dismantle or destroy historical monuments and statues. (Here and here and here and here and here and here and here) While I recognize that there are some statues that should be removed, my primary objection is to the lack of a public debate over how we should address these calls. Instead, mobs have been destroying or defacing statues. In Washington, police made the “tactical decision” to stand by and watch a mob destroy a statue.

As I have previously written, there are statues that should be removed but it is important that such decisions are made collectively and with circumspection:

Two decades ago, I wrote a column calling for the Georgia legislature to take down its statue of Tom Watson, a white supremacist publisher and politician who fueled racist and antisemitic movements. Watson was best known for his hateful writings, including his opposition to save Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager accused of raping and murdering a girl. Frank was taken from a jail and lynched by a mob enraged by such writings, including the declaration of Watson that “Frank belongs to the Jewish aristocracy, and it was determined by the rich Jews that no aristocrat of their race should die for the death of a working class Gentile.”

Yet today there is no room or time for such reasoned discourse, just destruction that often transcends any rationalization of history.

The court’s rulings puts it at odds with the city licensing board that upheld a July 2020 decision by the city historical commission to remove the statue. Such decisions are usually given great deference and the appellate court may consider this within the authority of the commission even if it disagrees with the basis for the action. However, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, a nonprofit that manages the park, and America 500 Anniversary Corporation, have an agreement with the city that they insist was violated by Kenney’s actions.

So the fight will now move to the appellate courts.


166 thoughts on “Judge Orders Philadelphia to Remove Plywood Box Covering Columbus Statute”

  1. The White Supremacists, naturally enough, agree with the Democrats and the Left that all statues, paintings, and homages to Christopher Columbus be destroyed. Of course, all normal, decent people want the statues, paintings, etc. of Columbus to remain. As a solution to this issue, I propose that all images and homages to Columbus be removed and be replaced by statues and paintings of Elizabeth Warren. Even though she is the only person known to have ever failed a DNA test, Warren still registered as 1/1024 Native American, and that is close enough for the White Supremacists, the Democrats, and the other members of the Left. And they seem to be in charge of everything that’s happening in the news today.

  2. The debate over Columbus sometimes degenerates into whether the Indians had wheels and horses. That’s the focus — wheels and horses?!

    Meanwhile, in the seat of Western civilization (Europe), great thinkers were engaged in a *scientific* revolution — that would lead to the creation of physics, astronomy, chemistry, botany, and then to anatomy, microbiology, medicine. They were creating magnificent lenses, microscopes, telescopes, and clocks. They were exploring uncharted territories, and creating the fields of surveying and mapping. They were making new discoveries in mathematics. They were rediscovering philosophy, which would eventually lead to new theories about limited government, objective law, and individual rights. They discovered perspective in painting, and created man-glorifying art. They wrote dramatic, engaging works of drama and literature.

    And, most important of all, they unearthed the wisdom of ancient Greece — and rediscovered a love for this world and reason.

    Please keep that in mind when the multiculturalists (who in fact detest Western civilization) try to bamboozle you with wheels and horses. They want you to stay ignorant and pliant. They do not want you to know what a great culture looks like.

  3. There is no evidence Columbus committed genocide. Queen Isabella had forbidden enslaving Indians but that was disregarded by the Spanards. After his last voyage Columbus was sent back to Spain in chains by Nicholas Ovando, governor of Cuba. See my Sept. 21, 2017 Washington Times piece “Good by Columbus” for the truth of the great navigator.

    1. Savage leaders in South America and Africa slaughtered and sold their countrymen respectively.

      Apparently, Europeans weren’t the worst thing the world had ever seen.

      “Human sacrifice in Aztec culture”

      Some post-conquest sources report that at the re-consecration of Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487, the Aztecs sacrificed about 80,400 prisoners over the course of four days. This number is considered by Ross Hassig, author of Aztec Warfare, to be an exaggeration. Hassig states “between 10,000 and 80,400 persons” were sacrificed in the ceremony.[12] The higher estimate would average 15 sacrifices per minute during the four-day consecration. Four tables were arranged at the top so that the victims could be jettisoned down the sides of the temple.[19] Additionally, many historians argue that these numbers were inaccurate as most written account of Aztec sacrifices were made by Spanish sources to justify Spain’s conquest.[20] Nonetheless, according to Codex Telleriano-Remensis, old Aztecs who talked with the missionaries told about a much lower figure for the reconsecration of the temple, approximately 4,000 victims in total.

      Michael Harner, in his 1977 article The Enigma of Aztec Sacrifice, cited an estimate by Borah of the number of persons sacrificed in central Mexico in the 15th century as high as 250,000 per year which may have been one percent of the population.[21] Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl, a Mexica descendant and the author of Codex Ixtlilxochitl, estimated that one in five children of the Mexica subjects was killed annually. Victor Davis Hanson argues that a claim by Don Carlos Zumárraga of 20,000 per annum is “more plausible”.

      – Wiki

      “Atlantic slave trade”

      The major Atlantic slave-trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were the Portuguese, the British, the Spanish, the French, the Dutch, and the Danish.

      Several had established outposts on the African coast where they purchased slaves from local African leaders.

      – Wiki

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Res ipsa loquitur – The thing itself speaks