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A day after Portland rioters tore down a nearly 100-year-old statue of George Washington, vandals toppled more historic statues. On Friday night, saboteurs ripped down monuments that were dedicated to Ulysses S. Grant, Francis Scott Key, and an 18th-century Spanish priest who was canonized as a saint.
Rioters leveled a statue dedicated to Ulysses S. Grant, the Republican who was the 18th president of the United States and the four-star Union general who defeated the Confederacy in the American Civil War.
Grant allegedly owned one slave for “about a year on the eve of the Civil War,” according to Sean Kane, interpretations and programs specialist at The American Civil War Museum. “In 1859, Grant either bought or was given the 35-year-old Jones, who was in Grant’s service until he freed him before the start of the War.” Grant wrote in his personal memoir, “As time passes, people, even of the South, will begin to wonder how it was possible that their ancestors ever fought for or justified institutions which acknowledged the right of property in man.” Many came in defense of Grant, including U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who noted that Grant “destroyed the KKK.” Defenders pointed out that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass praised the Union general and that Grant signed into law an act that empowered him to use armed forces to quash any person or group, such as the Ku Klux Klan, who disenfranchised and terrorized former slaves.
The Ulysses S. Grant statue was one of three monuments that rioters tore down on Friday night at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.