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Think twice before you topple that old statue

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

When I first heard that hot-headed vandals had knocked down a statue honoring a Confederate leader or a slave trader, I confess that I felt a twinge of satisfaction. Slavery was a horrible institution, after all, of which some of my own ancestors were victims.

But where does the lawlessness, once it is unleashed, end?

Sometimes in more tragedy and even farce.

In Philadelphia, for example, some self-appointed comrades of the cancel culture threw red paint on the statue of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin on which they also spray-painted “murderer” and “colonizer.”

They might as well have painted “abolitionist.” Yes, Baldwin argued for the right of African Americans to vote in Pennsylvania during the state’s 1837 constitutional convention. He also helped to establish and personally fund a school for black children.

Folks, we African Americans have plenty of opponents of our freedom, past and present, to criticize without going after our allies.

 

In Whittier, California, someone smeared “BLM,” the initials of Black Lives Matter, and “(expletive) Slave Owners” on a statue of poet John Greenleaf Whittier, after whom the town is named.

Again, Whittier, a prominent Quaker, was a leading advocate for the abolition of slavery. Perhaps the perpetrators of the crime against his statue confused him with Francis Scott Key, the slave owner who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A statue in his honor was toppled in San Francisco during recent protests.

In Boston, crowds gathered peacefully June 28, lending their voices to nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died beneath the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

But late in the day, some of the protesters turned into vandals and defaced, of all things, a Civil War monument that honors the first all-Black and all-volunteer regiment in the Union Army.

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(c) 2020 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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