KEY POINTS

  • Statue of Confedrate General Albert Pike torn down Friday night in Washington, D.C.
  • President Trump criticizes police for letting it happen
  • Many statues with racist ties are coming down across the country

Black Lives Matter protesters want to remove all traces of the confederacy and are doing so by tearing down statues of confederate figures all across the country. On Friday night (June 19), protesters tore down and set on fire a statue of Gen. Albert Pike on the anniversary of Juneteenth, which is the day slaves were declared free men in the United States. 

General Pike, who opposed secession from the Union at first, was the confederate envoy to Native Americans at the time they made him a brigadier general on Aug. 15, 1861, and convinced many Native Americans to join the confederate cause, according to History central.com

Around 11 p.m. there were about 100 peaceful, but agitated, protesters around the statue, and by 11:15 p.m. it was on the ground and burning. Soon after President Trump put out a tweet that said the cops weren’t doing their jobs, “as they watch a statue be ripped down and burn.” He also called for the protesters' arrest.

Police did not stop the destruction of the statue even though the lights from police cars can clearly be seen in this Twitter video of the incident. 

Meanwhile, statues of people connected to the nation's racist past are being torn down all across the country, and not always by protesters. Legislative leaders in many areas are deciding to take down statues of people whose history is filled with racist ideals. California is taking down a statue of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella because they represent negative racial attitudes from the past.

The Washington statue of Confederate general Albert Pike was toppled by protesters Friday night The Washington statue of Confederate general Albert Pike was toppled by protesters Friday night Photo: AFP / Eric BARADAT

“Christopher Columbus is a deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations,” said California Democratic Senators Toni Atkins, Anthony Rendon and Ken Cooley. 

They go one to say that the statue, which has been standing since 1883, has no place in today’s society and that they would immediately remove it. 

Some officials are even willing to defy state laws to remove symbols of America’s racist past. Recently, the mayor of Charleston, S.C., John Tecklenburg, decided that the statue of John C. Calhoun, one of the past’s strongest proponents of slavery, does not deserve to stand and is asking the city counsel for its removal.

Tecklenburg made the announcement on the anniversary of the mass shooting that killed nine Black worshipers in Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, reported The Hill

The board of trustees of the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, has approved to move a 30-foot monument of a Confederate soldier in a battle-ready pose from the institution's entrance to an on-campus cemetery.