Historical figures reassessed after George Floyd’s death

Outrage over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis has intensified the campaign to pull down Confederate monuments around the United States.

It has also sparked similar activism abroad — extending to statues of slave traders, imperialists and explorers.

Protests and, in some cases, acts of vandalism have taken place in such cities as Boston; New York; Paris; Brussels; and Oxford, England.

Scholars are divided over whether this amounts to erasing history or updating it.

Targets of recent protests include statues of Christopher Columbus, British imperialist Cecil Rhodes and Belgium’s King Leopold II, who profited from a brutal regime when he controlled Congo in the late 19th century.

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