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National Market Report

The National Market Report (NMR) details current issues involving emerging businesses, investments, and global markets, and their impact on Wall Street, other world financial centers, global business and capital markets.

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The Irony of Christopher Columbus and Monuments of Injustice

  • Public
By National Market Report 8 days ago

Categories: Social & Religious Empowerment


0/10 stars (0 votes)

By:
Harlington L. Hanna Jr.
Helen Bartlett-Hanna

In recent times there have been mass movements to remove and/or replace monuments that represent elements of injustice to Black Americans and other Blacks or People of Color around the World. Considering the relative newness of the development of Countries in the Western Hemisphere compared to those in Europe, among the earliest and most prominent of such monuments are to Christopher Columbus who, according to European History, "Discovered" the New World. 

A recent attempt to remove one of the more prominent Monuments to Injustice occurred in Nassau Bahamas. The Bahamas is the Country where Columbus first landed in 1492 when he stepped ashore at San Salvador/Watlings Island in what is now the Bahamas.

On October 9, 2021 essentially the eve of what used to be Columbus Day in the Bahamas, and now National Heroes Day, an Activist calling himself Michael The Archangel attempted to demolish the 200 year old statue of Christopher Columbus which is displayed in front of Government House in Downtown Nassau. He used a sledge hammer to remove an arm and a leg and caused other damage to the monument before being apprehended.


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Government House, Bahamas. Photo: iStock/Kolbz

A photo from social media showing police at the scene at Government House on Saturday afternoon.

A photo from social media showing police at the scene at Government House 

For years many had advocated removing this Statue. One irony of the situation was that it had originally been protested against by many prominent White Citizens of the early Bahamas, but for reasons other than more recent Activists' complaints about Columbus having been a person of disreputable intentions and actions.

The Statue was originally placed at Government House by an Early Abolitionist, Governor Sir James Carmichael Smyth who had been aggressive in trying to stop the mistreatment of enslaved peoples, even going to the extent of punishing many White Slave owners for their actions. The Monument was originally intended to be a Statue of the Governor himself which garnered donations from many Blacks who supported it being erected in his image. He decided instead to commission and erect a monument to Christopher Columbus.


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Immediately after the event on October 9, 2021, many in the Bahamas lauded the Activist's bravery and actions and called for the Government to release him. A Folklore song commending the action was immediately published, in addition to other complements calling Michael 'a Hero', and Columbus 'a Zero'.

A major irony of this development is that unlike other Monuments of Injustice removed around the World, which were erected by White Supremacists, this monument was apparently erected by someone who opposed the injustices of Slavery.

The rising phenomenon of Honest History Tourism, where many tourists, particularly Black Americans, and those attracted to more accurate and equitable depictions of historical places and events will benefit from situations such as this new development in the Bahamas.

The authors of this article propose that the Government of The Bahamas assist in this Honest History Movement by either leaving the Statute where it is in its damaged condition, or remove it to a museum and display it with videos of the attempted demolition so that Honest History Tourists can better review and understand the circumstances surrounding its existence. Tourists can also benefit by leaving the original Pedestal in place with a Historic Plaque marking the spot and environment where the Statue was originally located.


See the following Article as originally published at:
https://www.everythingbahamian.com/blog-1/w9iuk1l86t2m29kl0jsxmgrjchw50r

Also see:
https://bahamianology.com/armed-guards-to-protect-columbus-statue-nassau-1832/

The History behind the statue of Christopher Columbus

Many Bahamians question why the Christopher Columbus statue exists and what is the importance behind it being at Government house, and rightly so considering Columbus  didn’t discover The Bahamas  and also made no positive contribution to what this country is today.

The history of the statue is tied with Sir James Carmichael Smyth, slaves in The Bahamas and another statue the Queen Victoria in parliament square.

Sir James Carmichael Smyth was appointed Governor of The Bahamas in 1829. Smyth was a known sympathizer with the cause of slaves and a keen abolitionist, because of this he found himself to be the enemy of many influential whites. 

Smyth also worked to abolish corporal punishment for female slaves, Smyth tried without success to persuade the House of the Assembly to legislate against it.

in 1830 Smyth became aware of cruelty towards female slaves among a group of 77 runaways from the Lord Rolle estate in Exuma. The slaves, who had stolen a boat and fled to Nassau, were seized in Nassau Harbour and tried as runaways. ‬

‪The magistrates who signed the warrant for the punishment of the female slaves were suspended by Smyth. Smyth's actions caused an uproar

Smyth was described as a pre emancipation hero for attacking the atrocities of slavery and providing leniency for runaway slaves. He also dismissed the police magistrate and several municipal judges for defiance of these orders. 

Carmichael Smyth frequently worshipped with the black congregation on Sundays, the ruins of this church are located at the junction of Carmichael and Gladstone road and are incorporated into the structure of St. Ambrose Anglican Church. 

To show gratitude the black people collected a great amount of funds which they gave to Carmichael Smyth to have a monument made. It is my assumption that the black Bahamians assumed that he would have a monument sculpted of himself but instead  he had a statue of Christopher Columbus sculpted. 

The statue was originally meant to be in parliament square but the rich whites were disgusted with the thought of a statue paid for by black people would be at the House of Parliament entrance. So instead the wealthy whites erected a statue of Queen Victoria where it still remains. 

As a result Sir James Carmichael Smyth moved his gift to pecks slope near Government house

Information retrieved from “The African diaspora of The Bahamas” by Keith L. Tinker

 

IMG_2330.jpeg
IMG_2285.jpeg
The Statue of Christopher Columbus which stands on the steps leading to Government House, was modelled in London by the Aide to Washington Irving, and presented to The Bahamas in 1830 by one of its Governors, Sir James Carmichael Smythe.

 

National Market Report

National Market Report

The National Market Report (NMR) details current issues involving emerging businesses, investments, and global markets, and their impact on Wall Street, other world financial centers, global business and capital markets.

The National Market Report (NMR), is hosted by Intellectual Property and Securities Attorney Harlington L. Hanna Jr., founder of the Law Firm Hannaian Law Associates  (http://hannaianlaw.com. He is...

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