U.S. Grant isn’t necessarily a hero in New York City

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The General Grant National Monument, commonly known as Grant's Tomb, in New York, circa 2004. AP file/Kathy Willens

If you want to engage in a little cultural schadenfreude this morning, cast your eyes toward New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised a review of public monuments that one critic is already calling “McCarthyism of a reverse sort.” From today’s New York Times:

Ulysses S. Grant — commemorated in at least two statues in Brooklyn and a monumental tomb in Upper Manhattan — issued an order to expel Jews from three states during the Civil War. Horatio Seymour — a New York politician whose portrait is displayed in City Hall — ran as the Democratic presidential candidate against Grant in 1868, heading up a racially-charged campaign in which some of his supporters used the slogan, “This is a White Man’s Country; Let White Men Rule.” The Duke of York, namesake of New York City, was involved in the slave trade.

On Monday, the mayor found himself defending Christopher Columbus, saying he would march in the Columbus Day Parade as a proud Italian-American. But days earlier his political ally, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, condemned the explorer for atrocities visited on Native Americans, saying she has never marched in the parade and will not this year.

It almost makes you wonder when people in Atlanta are going to figure out that the Spanish fellow for whom Ponce de Leon Avenue is named, though he died 340 years before the Civil War, was something of a slaver.

Oops.

To read the rest of the Morning Jolt, click here.

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