A statue of Christopher Columbus has sat outside Minnesota’s Capitol since 1931.
If petitioners have their way, the nearly 86-year-old sculpture would be scrapped in favor of a local entertainment icon.
Wintana Melekin, a community organizer in the Minneapolis area, has circulated a campaign to ask Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature to replace the Columbus statue with one of Prince.
The music legend – who was 57 when he died April 21, 2016, at his Paisley Park home – was born and raised in Minneapolis, which is a twin city of Minnesota’s capital, St. Paul. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is one of the best-selling artists of all time.
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Melekin is attempting to pay tribute to someone who “represents Minnesota values.”
“Across the nation, city governments are choosing to remove statues of white supremacists, slave owners, and those who threatened the livelihood of Black people,” the petition reads. “Here in Minnesota, communities are reigniting the demand to bring down state’s monument to Christopher Columbus, a man who murdered, raped and enslaved Black and Native peoples in the Americas. We, the undersigned, do not believe that Columbus represents the values Minnesotans carry. Rather than glorify a man who wanted to extinguish Black and Native peoples, we should honor members of our community whose leadership we find inspirational.”
As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, the petition had 5,105 of the 6,000 signatures requested.
St. Paul wouldn’t be the only city to find a tribute to Prince if the statue is erected. A mural of the man born Prince Rogers Nelson can be found here in Sacramento.