On Friday June 19, 2020, San Francisco protestors tore down a statute of Ulysses Grant , a veteran of the Mexican-American War, the commander of the Union Forces during the U.S. Civil War and a former U.S. President who oversaw the ratifcation of the 15th Amendment, the creation of the Justice Department to supress the first resurgance of the Ku Klux Klan, amd whom appointed several African Americans to prominent positions in government during reconstruction. In addition, Grant’s father was an abolitionist and after the battle at Fort Sumter Grant stated to him, “My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all Constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go.” The Union was losing the war after the Battle of Anteitam and almost lost the war at the Battle of Gettsburg. Many Union generals, along the the eastern theatre of the war, choose to retreat to the higher castaulties that they were incurring. However, when Grant won over the Confederacy at Vicksburg, New Orleans and other cities along the Mississippi River, Lincoln made Grant the Grand Commander of the Union Army and the first ever Five Star General. Without Grant’s battle hardness and unwillingless to retreat in Virginia, the Civil War could’ve dragged on for years and Washington, D.C. could of been invaded by the Confederacy. But deapite all of Grant’s noble accomplishments he had one sin, the ownership of the slave William Jones, a man who was gifted to him by his southern wife’s grandfather. Grant viewed slavery as his father did, and did not want to own a person under bondage. However, Grant accepted Jones into his household to please his wife’s family and freed him before the Civil War began.
During Juneteeth celebrations in 2020, San Francisco protestors failed to consider the entire context of Ulysses Grant’s background and to label him as someone who needs to be removed from the public space due fo his ownership of William Jones. This is one step too far in the movement to remove any representarion of any caucasian men seen as unworthy continual praise due to them being held accountable to modern standards.
I say “fuck you”, in the strongest terms, to the protestors who fail to respect our national heritage and whom seek to destroy artifacts of individuals tied to the history of the United States, regardless of if those individuals led to signifcant gains in the plight for freedom of African Americans.
Honestly, I hope that those protestors are held criminally responsible for damaging the statue of Ulysses Grant and that they are held financially responsible for putting that statue of Grant back up. In addition, I believe that the organization of “Black Lives Matter” should be held liable for the destruction of public property that their members have participated in.
Americans need to stop destroying statues of caucasians and europeans in public spaces and call for the creation of more statues of African Americans in the public so that they are represented more in the public.
If the leadership of “Black Lives Matter” does not call for a stop to the destructionof public statues, they will end up losing support of their organization from individuals who see them as deviating far from the goal of holding police accountable for their acts of brutality and of reform of community policing.
The group “All Historical Statues Matter” was created by Philip Andrew Hamilton after the toppling of Preaident Ulysses S. Grant’s statue at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on June 19, 2020. The tearing down of historical artifacts and statues has gone too far, and a community of historical groups, community acitvists, politicans and police need to work in conjunction to protect other historical statutes in America. The will of a vocal majority cannot trump the will of others who wish to keep our national heritage in place.
The statue of President Grant was under the protection of the National Park Service, which failed to prevent it’s toppling. Other statues of President Grant under the juriasiction of the United States National Parks are at Fort Humbolt, in Northern California, and the Ulysses S. Grant Civil War Memorial in downtown Washington D.C. The newest statue of President Grant was erected at the West Point Army Base on June 2019.