Friday evening, activists toppled the statue of Junipero Serra at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Per Wikipedia, Junípero Serra was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Alta California in the Province of Las Californias, New Spain.
Activists just toppled the Junipero Serra statue in Golden Gate Park here in San Francisco
Now they’re onto Francis Scott Key, slave owner and writer of the Star Spangled Banner pic.twitter.com/Ykv0hFMZvK
— Joe Rivano Barros (@jrivanob) June 20, 2020
Per Mercury News, Serra’s legacy is complicated. The mission system he founded and led played a role in the founding of modern California, but many Native Americans blame him for the destruction of their culture and the decimation of their ancestors from European diseases, as well as for the brutal punishment he inflicted on those who tried to run away.
For those reasons, Stanford University in 2018 scrubbed Serra’s name from many of its buildings.
The toppling of the statues coincided with Juneteenth, which commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved Americans in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation, which had set them free two years prior. Key and Grant both owned slaves.
A Golden Gate Park spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.