San Francisco to Reconsider Removal of Statue Deemed Racist

San Francisco's Board of Appeals unanimously voted to overturn the city's Arts Commission earlier decision to remove the "Early Days" sculpture. (Arash Malekzadeh/KQED)

Activists urging the removal of a prominent 19th century statue in San Francisco depicting a Native American at the feet of a Spanish cowboy and a Catholic missionary will get another chance to make their case.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the city's Board of Appeals voted Wednesday to grant a rehearing on removing the "Early Days" statue near City Hall.

The San Francisco Arts Commission and Historic Preservation Commission decided to put the statue in storage amid complaints it was racist and demeaned Native Americans.

But the Board of Appeals in April overturned their decisions, saying the historic commission had overlooked its duty to preserve history.

Mayor Mark Farrell said he was embarrassed by the board's decision, and the city's Board of Supervisors unanimously called for the statue's removal.

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The board received more than a dozen letters and emails advocating the statue's removal and two in support of its public display.

"If we wipe away the traces of injustice, we will forget that injustice and repeat it," Eric Heisdorf wrote the board in support of the statue.

The issue gained momentum last year after sometime-violent debates erupted across the country over removing Confederate statues. The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama civil rights legal clinic, reported that 47 Confederate monuments have been removed across the country since the June 2015

According to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, 110 Confederate symbols — 47 of them monuments — have been removed across the nation since the Charleston murders.

Native American activists have advocated for the statue's removal for decades.

The new hearing will be held later in the summer.

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