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Columbus State Dismantles Christopher Columbus Statue

After Friday, Christopher Columbus will no longer stand at Columbus State Community College.

In the early hours of the morning, the school began the process of removing and storing the statue, which had been covered with red and black graffiti the night before. The process will take about eight hours, officials said.

Columbus State president David Harrison announced on Tuesday that the removal would take place within two weeks, but that timeline sped up after the city of Columbus on Thursday declared its own intent to take down a statue at City Hall.

“The removal of the Christopher Columbus statue is a symbolic gesture of our commitment to our College and in our community to continue and accelerate the fight against systemic racism,” Harrison said in a statement. “Recent events, including the senseless deaths of African-Americans and the resulting anguish across the nation, compelled us to act on a years-long internal dialogue about the statue and the message it sends in our community."

The Columbus State statue was created by sculptor Alfred Solani in 1959, and originally installed in an Illinois park before being restored and moved to the school's grounds in 1988.

Columbus State says it will look for a new art installation to put at the same location.


A statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus State Community College was hit with graffiti before being removed Friday morning.
Credit Paige Pfleger / WOSU
A statue of Christopher Columbus at Columbus State Community College was hit with graffiti before being removed Friday morning.

The city's Christopher Columbus statues have long been the subject of protests by racial justice advocates and Indigenous activists, who say they valorize the acts of slavery and genocide.

"When historical acts of violence like this are normalized, it perpetuates those acts of violence in modern day-to-day experiences," says Shelly Corbin, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe who lives in Grove City.

The City Hall statue, which will also be removed in the coming days, was a gift from the Italian city of Genoa in 1955.

Mayor Andrew Ginther said he's asking the Columbus arts Commission to determine the statue's future, and to review all public art in the city – as well as the city seal and flag – for diversity and inclusion.

A third statue of Christopher Columbus remains at the Ohio Statehouse. It's unclear what the fate of that sculpture will be.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.