Jackson’s Woke City Council Votes to Remove Statue of Seventh President
The Jackson, Miss., City Council voted on Tuesday to remove the Andrew Jackson statue that stands in near City Hall due to what the city’s mayor called his “legacy of a brutal owner of enslaved people” and his role in the “Trail of Tears against indigenous people.”
“While removing a statue does little to change our condition as oppressed people, we should not have to constantly encounter the likeness of those who profited off of the blood, sweat and despair of our ancestors or see them immortalized as honorable,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a Democrat, said.
Lumumba said it was time to “divorce” the city from the bronze statue that has been the focus of renewed scrutiny in the wake of the George Floyd protests that rocked the nation last month.
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The Clarion-Ledger reported that Ashby Foote, the City Council’s only Republican, was the only vote opposed to the statue’s removal.
“I’m a big history buff. The whole idea of tearing down historical statues and monuments is generally a bad idea. We need to understand our history, not tear it down,” Foote said, according to the paper.
The statue will reportedly be put in a museum. Lumumba has reportedly indicated that he would consider replacing the statue with a tribute to Medgar Evers, the civil rights activist and WWII veteran.
The Washington Post reported that Jackson is a “liberal city in the red state” and about 82 percent black.
“Black people have reclaimed and repurposed names given to our families by slave owners for centuries,” the mayor said. “This is no different.”
Protests have erupted across the country with an unclear focus. Some protesters say the rallies are against police brutality while others call for a societal change in how minorities are treated. But critics of the movement say it is unfocused and calls to remove statues like Jackson’s, who was a war hero during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, undermines the country’s collective history.
President Trump keeps a Jackson portrait in the Oval Office and has defended the statue in Washington’s Lafayette Park.
In 2017, before the woke culture fully took hold, Tom Rogan wrote in the Washington Examiner that “Jackson did bring greater order and peace to what had been slow-rolling and often brutal exchanges between the tribes and the frontier settlers.”
Rogan does not gloss over the Trail of Tears but said “sometimes we must judge the man by the history of his time and the sum of his life’s work.”