SACRAMENTO – As plans are underway to remove the ‘Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella statue’, Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and members of the California Senate Republican Caucus recently signed on to a letter urging members of the Joint Rules Committee to keep the sculpture in the State Capitol.
The historical monument has been on display at the State Capitol since 1883 except for a brief time in 1981 when it was moved to a temporary location while the Capitol underwent restoration efforts.
Excerpts from the letter are below:
“…The spirit of human exploration and discovery as well as the stories of our imperfect past display the full spectrum of our history… Our country is named after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who determined that in 1492 Christopher Columbus actually sailed to what is now known as the Bahamas….
“Prominent American banker, Darius Ogden Mills acquired the sculpture for $30,000. Mr. Mills was a proponent of making Sacramento the state capital and was critical in the fundraising for the purchase of the original plot of land upon which the Capitol was built. Mr. Mills eventually gifted the statue to be enjoyed by Californians in the people’s house.
“…As misguided as Columbus may have been, history cannot be re-written, nor his accomplishments diminished.
“Some will say the removal of the statue is anti-Catholic. Others will say it is racist against Italian Americans. We say it is uninformed. We must not allow fear of our past to push us to ignore the lessons learned through uneducated and ignorant action by simply removing our history from sight. What will be next? Removing the Little Sisters of the Poor or Junipero Serra statues?”
Media can read the full letter here.