San Francisco board votes to remove ‘Early Days’ statue

Board of Appeals had voted in April to keep artwork depicting Catholic missionary, cowboy and Native American, but unanimously reverses itself; critics say statue celebrates subjugation of American Indians by white settlers

“Early Days” sculpture near Civic Center, San Francisco (image from sfcitizen.com)

A controversial sculpture in San Francisco’s Civic Center depicting a vaquero and a missionary standing over a fallen and nearly naked American Indian could be coming down as early as next week following a unanimous vote by the city’s Board of Appeals Wednesday night.

The vote reverses the board’s earlier decision and bookends a decades-long fight to remove what some critics have called a racist emblem of California’s past.

San Francisco’s Arts Commission and Historic Preservation Commission had both signed off on a proposal to remove the “Early Days” statue and put it into storage. But the plan was frozen after an appeal was filed by Frear Stephen Schmid, an attorney in Petaluma. Schmid argued that neither commission had the authority to remove the sculpture and that the decision was inconsistent with the city’s standards for removing or altering historic artifacts.

At Wednesday’s meeting, representatives of the Arts and Historic Preservation Commission argued that both bodies were acting well within the rights given to them by the City Charter when it comes to decisions about the city’s public art collection. Before their vote, several Board of Appeals commissioners said they were gratified to have received a clearer picture of the city’s rules and how they were interpreted.

Tom DeCaigny, the Arts Commission’s director of cultural affairs, said the commission would begin working to take the statue down immediately.

Full story at SF Chronicle.

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Comments

  1. A perfect example of why San Francisco stands out among all cities in the USA with disoriented leadership.

  2. Soon to be replaced by a statue titled Early Gays.

    • haahaa A statue for Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Alan Turing, Sally Ride, James Waldwin, Oscar Wilde, possibly Abraham Lincoln would look great in that location!

  3. Linda Maria says:

    I think the Board ought to vote to remove all public displays related to “gay history” as well as put an end to the annual immoral, unhealthy, and dangerous “Gay Parade!”. The extremely dangerous, immoral, and unhealthy “celebrations” of homosexuality should be replaced by good medical care, and help for victims and their families, who suffer due to “LGBT” and AIDS!

  4. Is the city’s name “San Francisco” offensive to the city too? Francis opposed Islam. How un-PC of him. It’s named after a Catholic saint. How exclusive. Time to rename the city something bland and unoffensive like “Bay City”

  5. The interesting thing is once all the past is wiped away groups will be able to deny history. No one will be able to prove , for example, slavery ever existed. It will have been wiped out of history.

  6. Time for a monument befitting modern San Francisco. I suggest a giant pump bottle of hand sanitizing Purell.

  7. Another Jim says:

    I’m sure that the persons portrayed by the statue would be more than happy to leave that city!

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