Petition seeks to replace Christopher Columbus statue with one of Prince in Minnesota

‘Prince represents Minnesota values and Columbus does not’

Prince performs during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards on 19 May 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Prince performs during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards on 19 May 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A petition has been started in a bid to replace a statue of Christopher Columbus in Minnesota by one of another historical figure – Prince.

The petition, which has received more than 9,000 signatures online, argues that “Prince represents Minnesota values and Columbus does not”.

The statue of Columbus is located in Saint Paul, outside the State capitol. The bid to have it replaced by Prince’s likeness comes amid renewed efforts to remove statues that celebrate people tied to oppression.

The bid, started by Wintana Melekin, is two-part. It advocates for the the State Capitol statue to be replaced with one “chosen by [the] Native community” outside the Capitol, and one of Prince in a different location. Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners, and those who threatened the livelihood of Black people,” the petition reads.

“Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved Black and Native peoples in the Americas.

“We, the undersigned, do not believe that Columbus represents the values Minnesotans carry. Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish Black and Native peoples, we should honour members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational.

“We, the undersigned, up submit that the Governor Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature replace the statue of Columbus with statues representative of Minnesota’s Black and Native communities.”

Columbus was once a celebrated figure in the US, with Columbus Day being recognised as a national holiday.

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However, over the years, knowledge of the Italian navigator’s atrocities has spread, and many have advocated against celebrating his legacy.

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