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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Fails History


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark Nj, The inconvenient truth is that Italians and Sicilians were once victims of white supremacy in this country:

  • Until the 20th century, Italians and Sicilians were legally classified as “colored” under U.S. immigration law (as were Armenians and many other ethnic groups), were subject to quotas, and were not allowed to become naturalized citizens. This gave rise to “race courts” in which immigrants presented anthropological, cultural and historical evidence that their ethnic group was white, even though they were not Anglo-Saxon. Individual judges weighed this evidence and determined whether the plaintiff was white, and therefore could become a naturalized citizen. Different judges came to different conclusions, keeping the immigration status of many ethnic groups in limbo for decades. Very few people know about the race courts; it’s not taught in school.
  • From 1885 until 1915, at least 50 Italians were lynched all over America (including in New York). In 1891, 11 Italians were lynched by a mob in New Orleans, even though they had already been acquitted of killing the city’s police chief. To this day, it remains among the largest single mass lynchings in American history. Very few people know about the lynchings of Italians; it’s not taught in school.
  • During World War II, FDR rounded up Americans of German, Italian, and Japanese descent and interned them in relocation camps for the duration of the conflict. This is during the living memory of Italian elders who live in Morris Park and throughout the United States. Very few people know that the Japanese were not the only ethnic group put into American relocation camps; it’s not taught in school.

Here are some truths about Columbus the man and the attacks against him:

  • Columbus has been outrageously slandered and falsely accused of the crimes of others. The record shows he actually sought to treat the natives with respect and restrain mistreatment against them.
  • Opposition to Columbus is not a recent development. In the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan mounted a bigoted campaign against the explorer because he was Catholic, Italian and sailed under the Spanish flag.
  • Modern attacks on Columbus are often fueled by the work of radical activist professors who seek to warp history with a predetermined political agenda.
  • Contemporary attacks on Columbus are sometimes unknowingly influenced by anti-Spanish propaganda known as the “La Leyenda Negra,” which originated in the 16th-century during English and Dutch conflict with Spain and portrayed the Spanish as brutal and untrustworthy.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka this morning issued the following statement:

“In keeping with the movement to remove symbols of oppression and white supremacy, we have decided to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus from Washington Park. We took it down with City work crews in a safe and orderly manner, to avoid the potential danger of people taking it upon themselves to topple it.”

Mayor Baraka said the statue will be kept in storage until the City decides what to do with it.

The statue was dedicated as gift to the City from the Italian-American community.

“The removal of this statue should not be perceived as an insult to the Italian-American community,” Mayor Baraka said. “It is a statement against the barbarism, enslavement, and oppression that this explorer represents.”

According to Newark historian J. Bennett:

The idea for a Newark Columbus statue came from Mr. John Di Biase, a member of the Giuseppe Verdi Society. From 1924 to 1927, $25,000 came in from all over “Nevarca,” and the statue was erected under the auspices of the Columbus Monument Committee, a wing of the Verdi Society.

Newark’s Christopher Columbus was unveiled on Columbus Day, 1927, in front of a crowd of 30,000 to 50,000. Before the unveiling of the statue there was a parade where Italian Newarkers in costume and on floats enacted events from Columbus’ life.

The guests of honor in the unveiling ceremonies were Governor Moore, Italian Vice-Consul Mario Vittani, and Judge Walter D. Van Riper.

7 thoughts on “Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Fails History

  1. Mayor Baraka has given in to the false accusations that he claims to oppose. He should replace it with another statue of an Italian historical figure (of which there are many). That would be proof of his not insulting the Italian community.

  2. This guy is an empty suit. He’s alone for the train ride to political bullshit.

  3. In order to state that someone failed history, you must know the REAL history and it is not the one that paints Christopher Columbus as this hero. The way he raped, pillaged, and murdered the indigenous people of these lands, he does not need to be glorified in anyway. Him or any other person that represents hate and racism.

    1. entirely false , you failed

  4. Only cowardly bigots would post under anonymous and spew a lot of the bs comments I’m reading. Ras has done a great job for the movement and the city of Newark as a whole. The point to to remove oppression. If anyone has a problem with that. Than you are part of the problem that needs to be corrected. No cares about Columbus. The guy was a fake that never discovered anything. You cannot discover a placed that already has people living there. So what people really upset about….

  5. Cory , another failure of the “public education” system I see

  6. Generational reliance on public assistance at the hands of Essex County politicians (who need poor minority votes for re-election). Ras and Cory and Sharpe neglected infrastructure and “the water” for decades, and now it’s poison. Patrons trading food vouchers for cash, booze and cigarettes. And you want to blame Columbus Cory?

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