The nationwide anger over the killing of George Floyd has brought protests, and demands for racial justice, police reform, even defunding police departments. Protesters are taking aim not only at behaviors, institutions, and structures but at the symbols of America's sordid history with racism. The monuments and statues are being defaced, toppled, or officially removed. Starting with the Confederacy. We've seen a movie like this in the recent past: At least 114 Confederate symbols were removed in the years after a white supremacist killed nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015. In addition to notable Confederates, there have been moves to rid ourselves of statues of Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, and Thomas Jefferson. All individuals who, while celebrated in one aspect of their lives and their contribution to American history, was associated with the nation's ugly racial history. President Trump has said the statues must stay and commanded U.S. Marshals to protect monuments and to arrest anyone attempting to vandalize them. Today we talk to historians and a sculptor about what to do with these controversial pieces.
Tamika Nunley, Assistant Professor of History, Oberlin College
Henry Adams, Professor of Art History, Case Western Reserve University
David Deming, Sculptor
Kevin Kleps, Assitant Editor, Crain's Cleveland Business