New York to keep controversial Columbus statue with commentary added

New York, Jan 13 (IANS) New York City will keep its controversial statue of explorer Christopher Columbus after months of public hearings and discussions, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Columbus will remain atop his perch high above the circle named for him on the Upper West Side, but the city will put up new historical markers about Columbus’s life, and commission a new monument honoring indigenous people, the mayor said, Xinhua reported.

“Reckoning with our collective histories is a complicated undertaking with no easy solution. Our approach will focus on adding detail and nuance to – instead of removing entirely – the representations of these histories,” de Blasio said in a statement.

“And we’ll be taking a hard look at who has been left out and seeing where we can add new work to ensure our public spaces reflect the diversity and values of our great city,” he said.

The Democratic mayor made his decision based on the recommendations and guidelines laid out in a report provided by the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers.

De Blasio set up the commission last August to review monuments on city property “seen as oppressive and inconsistent with the values of New York City” amid a national debate on statues honoring controversial figures, which initially targeted statues of Confederate leaders.

The commission did recommend moving one statue located in Central Park, that of J. Marion Sims, a doctor who operated on slave women to develop advances in gynecological surgery. The Sims statue will be moving to a cemetery in Brooklyn where he is buried.

Other controversial statues around the city will have markers added to give additional context.

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