Columbus, Ohio, removed a statue of its namesake, Christopher Columbus, from outside its City Hall on Wednesday morning. The monument is one of the most recent to be taken down amid a nationwide call to replace statues of colonizers, slave owners and other controversial historical figures.
Crews arrived early Wednesday to begin taking down the statue. The removal took approximately three hours, CBS Columbus affiliate WBNS-TV reported. The statue, a gift from Genoa, Italy, in 1955, will be placed at a secure city facility.
Mayor Andrew Ginther announced on June 18 that the statue would be removed, stating that it does not reflect the city.
"For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarchy, oppression and divisiveness. That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past," Ginther said in a statement at the time. "Now is the right time to replace this statue with artwork that demonstrates our enduring fight to end racism and celebrate the themes of diversity and inclusion."
Columbus is regularly criticized for his brutal treatment and killing of Native Americans.
Ginther said he asked the city's art commission to take the lead in the process of replacing the statue with public art that better reflects Columbus' citizens and "offers a shared vision for the future."
"By replacing the statue, we are removing one more barrier to meaningful and lasting change to end systemic racism," Ginther said in the statement. "Its removal will allow us to remain focused on critical police reforms and increasing equity in housing, health outcomes, education and employment."
The monument isn't theto be taken down in the U.S. In June, a statue of Columbus was removed in Boston after protesters beheaded it.
Protesters nationwide have toppled or vandalized controversial monuments as many cities have announced the removal or relocation of public works paying tribute to embattled historical figures. The calls come amid a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody.
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said The American Museum of Natural History will remove a prominent statue offrom its entrance after years of criticism. Charleston, South Carolina, recently removed its statue of former vice president and slavery advocate .