Some applauded the move, while others criticized what they called the “mob base”.
For some, the statues melted against the background of everyday life, but many people now question whether they should stand on their pillars.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced on Tuesday a committee to study the future of monuments around the British capital, including frescoes, street art, street names and statues.
The Public Domain Diversity Committee aims to improve “diversity across the public domain in London, to ensure that the features of the capital city properly reflect London’s achievements and diversity.”
While these measures divided public opinion, they fueled a growing conversation about what should happen to statues of individuals such as Colston, who had benefited from much suffering.
The Winston Churchill statue in London’s Parliament Square denigrates the phrase “he was racist” written after his name, after a black life demonstration on June 7, 2020. credit: Isabel Infants / AFP / Getty Images
During Sunday’s protest against a “black life”, a Churchill statue was stood standing in Parliament Square in London with the phrase “… racist”.
Uriel College has thus far preserved the statue of Cecil Rhodes despite the ongoing campaign to remove it. credit: Carl Kurt / Getty Images
Cecil Rhodes, who helped build the British Empire in South Africa, is immortalized in a statue outside Orel College, part of Oxford University.
Neither Oxford University nor College College responded to CNN’s request for comment.
In 2015, the Rhodes statue was removed from the University of Cape Town University in South Africa.
“It represents the former colonial representation of this country – sovereignty, racism and hatred of women,” said Ramapina Mahaba, chairwoman of the student group that led the campaign to remove the statue at the time.
A banner was used to protest the statue of the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, criticizing his racist views. credit: Jpi media
In Edinburgh, a statue of 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume was decorated with a painting citing his views on white supremacy.
Hume is considered one of the most important thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, and his bronze statue sits on the royal inclination in Edinburgh, the main road to the city’s old city.
But Hume’s reputation has become distorted in recent years, with an increased focus on his views on race. The sign on the statue contains a line from Hume’s article “From National Characters,” saying he “is able to suspect that niggers … are inferior to whites.”
Nelson Column, topped with a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson, towers over Trafalgar Square in central London. credit: evenfh / Shutterstock
Scottish politician Henry Dundas stands above the Melville statue in Edinburgh.
Dundas, who held a number of government positions, including the Home Minister, is known to support delays in abolishing slavery at the end of the eighteenth century.
Instead, activists recommend naming the streets the name of the Jamaican Scottish slave Joseph Knight, who has succeeded in liberating himself in the courts by proving that Scotland’s law did not recognize slavery.
William Gladstone served as British Prime Minister four times in the nineteenth century. His father owned slaves. credit: Photo view / Global photo collection / Getty Images
Tearing down statues is a form of ancient protest, from dropping the statues of Lenin when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 to the fall of Saddam Hussein’s monument in Baghdad in 2003.
These cases of destruction have been well received in the Western world, but recent campaigns to remove statues of controversial figures in places such as the United States and the United Kingdom have divided public opinion.
An alternative approach was taken in Paraguay, where Carlos Colombino was asked to re-imagine a statue of former dictator General Alfredo Strosner, who ruled the country from 1954 to 1989. Instead of destroying the memorial, Colombino enveloped some of its most recognizable parts between two huge blocks of cement As a memory of the victims of dictatorship.