The Latest: Crews removing 2 Confederate statues in NC
TOP OF THE HOUR:
— Crews removing two Confederate statues in Raleigh, North Carolina.
— Threatening letter sent to Black activist in the Netherlands.
— Statue vandalized of founder in Rochester, New York.
— Statue of Confederate general toppled in Washington.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Work crews are removing two Confederate statues outside the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh, the morning after protesters toppled two nearby statues.
News outlets reported Saturday that crews were removing one statue dedicated to the women of the Confederacy, and another placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.
Both statues stood for over a century. It was not immediately clear who ordered the removals.
On Friday night, protesters pulled down two statues of two Confederate soldiers that were part of a larger obelisk. Earlier in the evening police had thwarted a previous attempt to topple the statues. Bu after the officers cleared the area, protesters mounted the obelisk and were able to take down the statues.
The statues were dragged down the street. One was strung up by its neck from a light post.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Police in Amsterdam say they are investigating a threatening letter sent to a prominent Black activist.
Jerry Afriyie posted a photo of the letter on his Twitter feed Saturday.
He tweeted, “We are entering the next phase. My family is being threatened because I along with others fight against racism.”
Afriyie has long been a leader of efforts to eradicate the children’s character Black Pete, who is often portrayed by white people wearing blackface makeup at celebrations each December marking Sinterklaas, a Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas.
The letter, which contains racial epithets and insults, purports to come from the Northern division of the far-right anti-immigrant Pegida organization.
In a reaction posted to Instagram, the Dutch branch of Pegida denied involvement, saying that however much the disagree with Afriyie, “we will never send this sort of cowardly, threatening, racist letter to anybody.”
Police say in a tweet that they are investigating who sent the letter. The Amsterdam police tweet added, “as police we take this case extremely seriously.”
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A statue of the founder of Rochester, New York, has been vandalized.
Anti-racism messages were sprayed on the sculpture of Revolutionary War figure and slave owner Nathaniel Rochester.
The hands of the bronze statue of a seated Rochester were painted red, with “shame” written across the forehead. Other messages around the figure included “stole indigenous lands” and “abolish the police.”
Mayor Lovely Warren said Friday there’s a complexity to recognizing Rochester’s role in establishing what became the western New York city. She said the community should discuss “the best way to deal with those figures.”
The city’s new Commission on Racial and Structural Equity could decide. The sculpture was unveiled in 2008 as part of a neighborhood-revitalization effort led by volunteers.
WASHINGTON — Protesters have toppled the only statue of a Confederate general in the nation’s capital and set it on fire.
It comes on Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States, amid continuing anti-racism demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Cheering demonstrators jumped up and down as the 11-foot (3.4-meter) statue of Albert Pike — wrapped with chains — wobbled on its high granite pedestal before falling backward, landing in a pile of dust. Protesters then set a bonfire and stood around it in a circle as the statue burned, chanting, “No justice, no peace!” and “No racist police!”
Eyewitness accounts and videos posted on social media indicated that police were on the scene, but didn’t intervene.
President Donald Trump quickly tweeted about the toppling, calling out D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and writing: “The DC police are not doing their job as they watched a statue be ripped down and burn.” After the statue fell, most protesters returned peacefully to Lafayette Park near the White House.
LOS ANGELES — Beyoncé did not let Juneteenth pass without dropping one of her signature surprises in the form a new single called “Black Parade.”
The singer’s website says the song released late Friday will benefit Black-owned small businesses. She opens the track by singing, “I’m going back to the South, I’m going back where my roots ain’t watered down.”
Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. Typically a day of both joy and pain, the holiday was marked with new urgency this year, amid weekslong protests over police brutality and racism sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Beyoncé has spoken out against the killing of Floyd and has also called for charges against the Kentucky officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman gunned down in March by officers who burst into her own home.
In an Instagram post announcing the release of “Black Parade,” the singer wrote, “I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle.”
LAS VEGAS — Democratic members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are renewing a proposal to remove a statue of former Nevada Sen. Patrick McCarran from the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, saying that he left a “legacy of racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.”
Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto and Reps. Steven Horsford, Dina Titus and Susie Lee made the request in a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative leaders.
The letter says McCarran supported workers’ rights and helped shape the air travel industry, but his statue should be replaced with one of a person who better represents Nevada’s values “as a compassionate, diverse and welcoming state.”
TULSA, Okla. — Speaking before several hundred people gathered at the site of the white-on-Black rampage 99 years ago, the Rev. Al Sharpton took on President Donald Trump directly.
He referred to Trump’s tweet Friday morning of a warning about any “lowlifes” showing up against his rally Saturday.
“It’s lowlifes that shoot unarmed people, Mr. President,” Sharpton said. “You couldn’t be talking about us, because we fought for the country when it wouldn’t fight for us.”
He challenged Trump’s lasting campaign slogan. “Make America great again — give me the date that America was great for everybody,” Sharpton said.
“Greatness is when Blacks and whites and Latinos and Asians and original Americans take the streets all over this country and march against your tear gas” and threats to call out the military to squelch protests, Sharpton said. “That’s when you make America great.
“Look over here in Greenwood tonight. This is what is great tonight,” Sharpton said.
More news about the death of George Floyd at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd