As cities around the country remove statues of controversial historical figures from their town centers, one town in Ohio is vying to become their new home.
Newton Falls City Manager David Lynch signed a proclamation on Saturday, deeming the town a “Statuary Sanctuary City” and asked that other cities opt to place their controversial statues in Newton Falls. He said the city would give amnesty to statues of Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, as well as Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key, and Christopher Columbus, all of which have been targeted by protesters in recent weeks.
“The great leaders of our country and Western civilization, though flawed in many ways, have risen to great achievement such as the founding of our nation, the ending of slavery, establishment and protection of our national parks, the establishment of antitrust laws to protect our citizens from overaggressive monopolization of industry, and the discovery of the new world itself,” Lynch wrote in the proclamation, which was obtained by WFMJ.
“These great leaders as represented in beautiful and artistic statuary throughout our nation deserve to stand in a place of honor and respect as a reminder that we, as Americans, can achieve great things,” he added.
Lynch said that Newton Falls pledged to locate the statues in “a place of honor and respect to inspire greatness and achievement by all who observe them.” He signed the proclamation on July 4, the same day that protesters in Baltimore toppled a statue honoring Columbus and pushed it into the city’s harbor.
Newton Falls is located roughly 25 miles west of Youngstown, Ohio. The city has a population of 4,500 people.
Protesters have been demonstrating throughout the country to advocate for an end to racial injustice and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis. Some of the protests have devolved into riots featuring arson, looting, vandalism, and the tearing down of statues.
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