City of Wilmington removing Columbus and Caesar Rodney statues

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The City of Wilmington is removing the statues of Christopher Columbus on Pennsylvania Avenue and Caesar Rodney in Rodney Square.

The Columbus statue is being removed this morning. The Caesar Rodney statue is scheduled to be removed this weekend.

The Columbus statue near the city’s Little Italy neighborhood has long been the target of criticism over his treatment of indigenous people. Rodney, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, operated a farm that by some accounts was worked by 200 slaves.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said the statues are being removed and stored prior to a discussion over their historical significance. The city has been monitoring social media posts indicating that individuals and groups are poised this weekend to damage or remove the statues.

A statue of a kneeling law enforcement officer was severely damaged in Dover overnight.

Because memorials, statues, and other public displays are being scrutinized Purzycki said his office will engage individuals and groups in a discussion.

“We cannot erase history, as painful as it may be, but we can certainly discuss history with each other and determine together what we value and what we feel is appropriate to memorialize,” said Purzycki. “We can determine together how we should proceed as a city when it comes to public displays. In this period of awakening for our city, state, and country, we should be listening more to each other and building a more just City and a better America.”

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