Cal State Long Beach removing “Prospector Pete” statue because 1849 Gold Rush now politically incorrect
Will be sent from visible campus plaza to another location, because of the impact the 1849 gold rush had on indigenous people.
Another campus statue is being singled out for removal over political correctness. “Prospector Pete” is going to be taken off the campus plaza of California State University Long Beach and moved to an alumni center, because critics say the Gold Rush contributed to deaths of indigenous peoples.
This is reminiscent of efforts to remove a Thomas Jefferson statue at Hofstra University and a Christopher Columbus statue at Pepperdine University.
From the Associated Press, via ABC News:
California college moves ‘Prospector Pete’ statue from plaza
California State University, Long Beach, will move its half-century-old “Prospector Pete” statue away from a prominent place on campus because of the impact the 1849 gold rush had on indigenous people.
A statement on the university website said the gold rush was “a time in history when the indigenous peoples of California endured subjugation, violence and threats of genocide.”
According to the university, the bronze statue formally named “The Forty-Niner Man” evolved from the creation of the original college in 1949 and founding President Pete Peterson’s references to having “struck the gold of education.”
The statue, unveiled in 1967, shows a rugged-looking, bearded man sitting on a rock. It features no gold mining or panning tools.
In recent years, university athletics have moved away from the college’s traditional “49er” and “Prospector Pete” sports team and mascot names in favor of the nickname “Beach.”
The university said the statue on a plaza will be retired to a campus area dedicated to alumni, but no further details were provided.
Here’s a short video report from CBS News Los Angeles:
If you look at the efforts to remove these statues as a trend, and it is a trend, you might get the sense that there are people in academia who are intent on erasing certain aspects of American history and the target always seems to be white men.
The student newspaper, The Daily 49er, reports that some disagree with the removal:
Deon Williams, a sophomore history major, is opposed to having an animal mascot.
“I’m just tired of seeing animals honestly,” Williams said. “Then we wouldn’t be the 49ers, unless we just have a nugget. Maybe someone can dress up as a nugget.”
Williams thinks no one should forget the history of the prospectors.
“I’m not rocking with that Prospector Pete, but I understand that it’s been around for a long time, so people have to get used to it and not try to ignore the past,” Williams said.
As a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, history major and Native American cultures minor Christopher Wilson asked his parents about their opinion on Prospector Pete prior to the announced retirement. Wilson’s parents stated they weren’t offended by it at all. However, Wilson’s biggest concern is that in removing Prospector Pete people will forget an important part of history.
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