The Christopher Columbus statue has stood in New Haven’s Wooster Square Park for more than 125 years as a symbol of success and achievement for many Italian Americans.
Now Italian-American community groups in New Haven say it should come down. A decision that some aren’t happy about.
“This is a real shame. This is a point of pride for Italian Americans and we feel very insulted and very cut out of the whole discussion,” said Al Ippolito of Wooster Square.
Nearly 500 years after his death, Columbus’ history is back to haunt him.
“People don’t know the history. He always treated the natives with respect,” said Ippolito.
Some think that history should be re-examined.
“He doesn’t belong on a pedestal, he needs to come down,” said John DiBiase. “They need to put him in a museum somewhere. It is offensive, how can it not be offensive?”
“His legacy is somewhat sorry in terms of the kind of violence and torture perpetrated on indigenous populations,” said Manisha Sinha, a professor of history at UConn.
She encourages communities to have those conversations to decide what happens next.
“I think it’s a very complicated conversation there that each American should have.”
Some residents agree that discussions will help communities move forward.
“The question of who should be heroes in this country is clearly a conversation people want to have right now,” said Jesse Bryant.
“I don’t think we should run from history,” said Jon Bronke of Wooster Square. “Whether it’s good or bad, it can be a lesson to be learned from.”