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Confederate statues in Birmingham and Richmond. A former slave market in North Carolina. The national headquarters for a Civil War revisionist group.
These were just some of the monuments and buildings symbolizing centuries of systemic racism in America that were hit during the weekend’s protests, following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
In Fayetteville, North Carolina, protesters set fire to the Market House, the site where North Carolina delegates ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1789. Both the Market House that currently stands and its predecessor the State House, which burned down in 1831, hosted slave auctions well into the Civil War.
READ: I told riot cops I was a journalist. They forced me to the ground and pepper sprayed me in the face.
Windows were also broken, but the fire was eventually extinguished, according to local reports. Two hundred miles up I-95 North, in Richmond, Virginia, the national headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was also set on fire.
The UDC and its brother group, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, were responsible for the lion’s share of Confederate monuments built across the country in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The UDC has built over 400 Confederate monuments on public land alone, according to a 2016 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
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Protesters in Richmond also tagged a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, while people in Birmingham, Alabama succeeded in pulling down a statue of Charles Linn, one of the city’s founders and a captain in the Confederate Navy.
In Philadelphia, a statue honoring former police commissioner and mayor Frank Rizzo has been at the center of controversy for years. Over the weekend it was defaced, and protesters set fire to it and attempted to pull it down. As commissioner Rizzo ordered raids and strip searches of Black Panther Party members, and as mayor he once urged his supporters to “vote white” for a change to the Philadelphia city charter that would allow him to run for a third term.
Though the Rizzo statue didn’t come down yesterday, Philadelphia officials promised it would within the next month. “It’s time,” city council member Helen Gym tweeted. “Almost three years after Charlottesville, the Rizzo statue will come down – and the fight for greater justice must continue.”
Cover: A vandalized statue of the late Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo, who also served as the city’s police commissioner, stands behind mounted State Police officers outside the Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, The statue was vandalized during a protest over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)