HOUSTON – A statue of Christopher Columbus was removed from a Houston park Friday -- the latest Houston statue taken down in response to public outcry and ongoing protests over racial inequality.
City officials said the statue will remain in storage until further notice.
The statue, which had stood in Bell Park just outside the Museum District since 1992, was vandalized three times in a week.
The statue was vandalized twice last week. One night, red paint was plastered over the hands and face of the statue and a sign that read, “Rip the head from your oppressor,” was taped to it. The following night, someone sawed off one of the statue’s hands. The statue was once again covered in red paint this week.
A fence was placed around the statue and a city park employee watched over it overnight before it was removed from the park Friday morning.
The seven-foot bronze statue was donated to the city in by the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Greater Houston. It was meant to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas.
Earlier this week, two other Houston statues were removed from public display, the statue of Confederate commander Robert “Dick” Dowling, formerly located in Hermann Park, and a statue called the “Spirit of the Confederacy,” formerly located in Sam Houston Park.