Have protesters officially lost the aim of what they're protesting for?
The initial outrage against the Minneapolis police killing of 46-year-old George Floyd was absolutely justified. No one could watch the video of officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee against Floyd's neck and pinning him to the ground for nearly 9 minutes before his body went motionless and not be sick to their stomachs. But the peaceful protests quickly devolved into violent riots. Innocent business owners' lives were uprooted by looters, and heroic Americans like retired police chief David Dorn were senselessly killed trying to protect those businesses. It's not what Floyd's family wanted, they urged in an emotional statement last week.
The next chapter in the mayhem is the dismantling of historic statues. Around the country mobs have targeted Christopher Columbus and Founding Fathers deemed racist. A Columbus statue in Richmond, VA was vandalized, torn down and thrown in a lake, while he was simply beheaded in Boston.
And now, Philadelphia we have a problem. In Philadelphia City Hall, protesters vandalized a statue of Matthias Baldwin by writing, "colonizer" at the bottom of the monument. And just who was Baldwin? An inventor and an abolitionist whose philanthropy included years of helping to educate young black children.
Ok, so why was the statue of Matthias Baldwin defaced like this? He was an abolitionist who funded schools for black children out of pocket. No genocide there. pic.twitter.com/ACqq1iSS16— Eric Ernerstedt (@ericernerstedt) June 11, 2020
This is a statue of early abolitionist Matthias Baldwin being defaced in Philadelphia, PA. pic.twitter.com/eMdk1ZVjWl— Andy Byrd (@go_byrds) June 11, 2020
"Among Baldwin’s philanthropies was education for black children," Encyclopedia Brittanica explains. "His abolitionist sympathies led to a Southern boycott of his engines shortly before the American Civil War."
Baldwin also fought for the right of African Americans to vote in Pennsylvania during the state’s 1837 Constitutional Convention and hired African Americans to work in his shops. Joe Walsh, a member of the Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park, put it this way for National Review: “He was BLM [Black Lives Matter] before there was a slogan.”
So, yeah, lots of folks were confused by the protesters' latest target.
The statue is of outspoken slavery abolitionist Matthias Baldwin, in Philadelphia. Baldwin’s business opponents used his abolitionist stance against him.— Gareth Baines (@DrGABaines) June 11, 2020
He established a school for African-American children in Philadelphia and paid the teachers' salaries out of his own pocket. pic.twitter.com/VzKHawqGJp