BLM protesters tear down statue of Ulysses Grant

BLM protesters tear down statue of Ulysses Grant
Ulysses S. Grant(Image: )

BLM protesters tore down the statue of Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco on Juneteenth. Grant is the general who did the most to defeat the Confederacy in the Civil War. Later, as president of the United States, he appointed black people and Native Americans to office and tried to protect blacks against racist violence in the South, even though keeping federal troops in the South to protect blacks was costly and unpopular in the North. Grant’s contributions to black freedom were so great that he was celebrated by the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. To him, more than to any other man, the Negro owes his enfranchisement,” Douglass said. Douglass eulogized Grant as “a man too broad for prejudice, too humane to despise the humblest, too great to be small at any point. In him the Negro found a protector, the Indian a friend, a vanquished foe a brother, an imperiled nation a savior.”

The reason for tearing down his statue was that he once briefly owned a slave that he had been given. But he voluntarily freed that slave in 1859, before the Civil War, and long before slavery was abolished.

Grant’s statue was not alone in being torn down. As Newsweek notes, “The statues of St. Junipero Serra, the first saint of the Roman Catholic Church to be canonized in the U.S., and Francis Scott Key, the author of the lyrics to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ were also torn down at the park on the same day.”

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Police in that progressive city allowed it to happen: “Nearly 400 protesters were reported at the scene around 8:30 p.m. local time, according to police, who did not engage with the demonstrators. No arrests were made, NBC Bay Area reported.”

Earlier, a George Washington statue in liberal Portland was toppled, and covered with a burning U.S. flag. George Washington held slaves, but freed them in his will. Authorities in Portland have not reinstalled the statute, saying it caused “harm” to those offended by it.

By contrast, BLM protesters have left alone the Seattle statue of Soviet Communist dictator Lenin, who relied on slave labor and forced labor on a vast scale. As The New Yorker notes:

[Lenin’s 1918] Resolution on Red Terror provided for the “safeguarding of the Soviet Republic from class enemies by means of isolating them in concentration camps.” The idea was to separate, suppress, or destroy “categories of individuals” — priests, landowners, and other “enemies of the Revolution” — and to begin creating a pool of slave labor. Construction began in 1919. By the end of 1920, Soviet Russia had eighty-four camps, with around fifty thousand prisoners; within three years, the number of camps had quadrupled.”

Yet Black Lives Matter protesters are busy defacing or toppling statues of people who made America a more just and equal place. One example is Revolutionary war hero Tadeusz Kościuszko. His will dedicated his property to finance the emancipation or education of black people. Yet his statue was spat and urinated on and spray-painted with the words “F*ck You” and “BLM.”

Protesters also vandalized a statute of Quaker abolitionist John Greenleaf, defaced the statute of abolitionist Matthias Baldwin with the words “colonizer” and “murderer,” and spray-painted profanity and “BLM” on the statue of Union Admiral David Farragut, who helped defeat the South in the Civil War. Protesters also vandalized Jewish schools and synagogues.

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at


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