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Letters to the Editor: Remove California’s statue of Junipero Serra from the U.S. Capitol

Junipero Serra's statue in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall in Washington.
Junipero Serra’s statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall in Washington.
(Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: One statue not mentioned in this article is in the nation’s capital. (“California confronts its racist past as tributes to Confederates and colonizers fall,” June 26)

In the National Statuary Hall in Washington, each state has two statues. California’s are of President Ronald Reagan and Father Junipero Serra. Several years ago, Reagan’s statue replaced one of the Rev. Thomas Starr King.

Thomas Starr King was a Universalist minister called to lead San Francisco’s First Unitarian Church. He came to California at the start of the Civil War. During his short time here he traveled through the state to fight those who wanted California to secede and join the Confederacy. His efforts were a significant part in keeping us in the Union.

I think it is time to remove Serra’s statue from the U.S. Capitol and return Thomas Starr King’s to Washington.

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Gary Green, Pasadena

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To the editor: I understand the anger and frustration of the people who are pulling down the monuments and statues of former slaveholders. However, I was disturbed to hear that President Ulysses S. Grant’s statue in San Francisco was pulled down.

It is true that Grant owned one slave who was given to him by his father-in-law. However, Grant set his slave free at a time when he was poverty stricken and could have sold the man for a large amount of money. Grant went on to lead the Union forces to victory in the Civil War, which resulted in the abolition of slavery.

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I thought some context would be relevant.

Bob Watson, Newbury Park


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