News & Politics

San Francisco Allows Protesters to Topple U.S. Grant, Francis Scott Key Statues

Statue of U.S. Grant toppled in San Francisco, CA, June 19, 2020.

The cultural revolution claimed yet more defenseless statues Friday night. In San Francisco, about 400 protesters pulled down three statues: U.S. Grant, Francis Scott Key, and St. Junipero Serra.

Protesters in San Francisco on Friday toppled the statue of former President Grant, who led the Union Army during the Civil War, in Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco police said that approximately 400 people gathered around 8 p.m. to take down the statue, though no arrests were made, according to NBC Bay Area.

Also torn down in the park on Friday were the statues of St. Junipero Serra and Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

 

We’re well past the point of simply removing Confederate monuments or statues to slaveholders now. U.S. Grant was born into an abolitionist family. He married the daughter of a slave-holding family. That family gifted him a single slave, whom Grant freed while he himself was destitute in 1859. Grant could have sold the slave, whose name was William Jones, for a profit. He chose to set him free instead, well before the Civil War.

Once the Civil War broke out, Grant joined the Union army even while many who he had served alongside earlier in his military career joined the Confederacy. Grant eventually became the Union commander who won the war, thereby ending slavery. Had the Union lost, as practically all Democrats in the South and even many in the North wanted, slavery would have continued. After the war, President Grant put several Black Americans into positions of prominence and defended numerous others across the South as the Democrats and the KKK sought to intimidate them and drive them from office.

As for Key, and as if the complexities of history even mattered any more, he owned slaves but he later freed them. As an attorney, he both represented freedmen and represented owners of runaway slaves. As a witness to war, he penned a song that later became America’s national anthem.

St. Junipero Serra was an early Spanish missionary who later became the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil, in 1988.

Protesters just in the past few days have toppled or vandalized statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and now Grant and Francis Scott Key. Even Gandhi got vandalized, in the city currently known as Washington, District of Columbia.

Cities could defend these monuments very easily. Some cities, such as San Antonio, Texas, already have and continue to. Statues and monuments are coming down in cities that are choosing not to defend them. Those cities are all run by Democrats.

Exit question: Given the Democratic Party’s heinous racial legacy (the Civil War, Jim Crow, Woodrow Wilson, etc.), why aren’t the protesters going after them?

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