New York City's Stonewall Inn is now the United States' first national monument to LGBT rights. President Barack Obama gave the inn the designation on Friday, saying he believes "our national parks should reflect the full story of our country." In a video to commemorate the occasion, Obama gave a brief history of Stonewall Inn, explaining why it holds an important place in American history. "One night, police raided the bar and started arresting folks," Obama narrates, talking about the night of June 28, 1969. "Raids like this were nothing new, but this time the patrons had had enough, so they stood up and spoke out.
Last year my high school students and I took a Hidden History tour of New Orleans' French Quarter with historian Leon A. Waters. He showed us overlooked, unmarked sites of African American and civil rights history among the neighborhood's T-shirt shops and famed cast-iron balconies. The second-to-last stop was the Liberty Monument, an obelisk stashed away between the garage of an upscale shopping mall and a floodwall of the Mississippi River. As my students read the plaque, they were visibly shaken: It honored the Reconstruction-era paramilitary White League's attack on local government, killing more than 100 people, including several black police officers. They were even more shocked to learn that some residents were still fighting to preserve it.
Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Ken Cuccinelli warned on Saturday that the federal government would not take recent vandalism "lying down." Fox News host Neil Cavuto had asked Cuccinelli about attempts to take down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson located in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. "We are going to be aggressive and forward-leaning in prosecuting people who are breaking the law, creating violence, trying to destroy federal property and destroy our history along with it," he said. "There are hundreds of other investigations running right now, Neil, from all across the country. So people should know that this is not something that their federal government is going to take lying down. We're going to reestablish peace, and we're going to bring consequences to those who violate the law."
President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters President Donald Trump has faced mounting criticism over Tuesday's combative news conference and his varied responses to the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests. He asked why the outcry over Confederate monuments in various U.S. cities didn't extend to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, founding fathers who also owned slaves. "You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?" the president asked. On Thursday, President Trump posted three tweets that continued that line of thinking: "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," his tweet triptych began. Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.
SYDNEY – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that calls to replace or modify statues of English colonialists, including explorer Captain James Cook, were tantamount to a "Stalinist" rewrite of history. Pressure has grown in the wake of the furor over Confederate monuments in the United States to reconsider statues in Australia that some deem offensive to the country's indigenous people. Sydney, Australia's largest city, is deciding whether to alter a monument erected in Hyde Park, 1879, to commemorate Cook, who charted Australia's east coast for the first time. At issue is the engraving on the base of the statue, which says "Discovered this territory, 1770." Aboriginal people had lived on the continent for an estimated 60,000 years before Cook dropped anchor in Botany Bay.