For many around the world and especially in America, removing statues that honor historical figures has become a flashpoint in the reckoning over racial injustice. Many view these aesthetic representations of men like Robert E. Lee or Christopher Columbus as honoring a racist traitor and a mass-murderer, while some see them as reminders of tradition or national pride. The practice of destroying symbols of bygone eras, called “iconoclasm,” can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The fight over today’s statues, in other words, is as old as history itself.
Video by Matt Goldman and Tom Connors
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