San Francisco

Push to Remove Prominent Statues in San Francisco

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The tearing down of multiple statues in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this past weekend has people taking a much closer look at local art, and some questioning what should stay and what should go.

“We've been visiting these statues everyday for years,” said Lauren from San Francisco.

She visited Golden Gate Park Monday to see the empty pedestals where several prominent statues used to be.

“I should have known a lot more about these individuals than I did, especially how much time we spent hanging around with these statues,” she said.

Among the statues unceremoniously removed was Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key and Ulysses S. Grant.

Retired history teacher Tom Palmer was left scratching his head as to why Grant was among those torn down.

“Saved the union, beat the confederacy, yet his statue down,” said Palmer.

But for professor James Lance Taylor, chair of the Department of Politics at USF, it’s all tied to the momentum of the movement touched off by the death of George Floyd.

“The chaos of democracy is why we're now having widespread change across the country,” Taylor said.

The professor said that what started out as an issue over police brutality, has now brought soul-searching to products like Aunt Jemima Syrup and the pasts of figures memorialized in bronze and stone. 

“Democratic movements are messy, democratic movements are not disciplined, democratic movements are really not even ideological, they tend to be the mob,” he said.

Some wonder what will fall next -- with rumors of demonstrators targeting statues at San Francisco's Legion of Honor Museum, or another Junipero Serra statue in Hillsborough. 

It seems in this era of change, time and history are all fair game.

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