If there’s one thing this past week has taught us, it’s that protesters are gonna protest – even if they have no idea what they’re protesting.
Case in point: a statue of a man named Matthias Baldwin, which stands outside Philadelphia City Hall, was defaced with spray paint early this week.
The problem? Baldwin was an abolitionist. Which, for those who didn’t pass fourth-grade history (and that looks to be an awful lot of people these days) means he fought against slavery.
As the National Review notes, Baldwin, a self-made businessman and locomotive manufacturer, was a supporter of blacks’ right to vote and argued openly for it during the 1837 Constitutional Convention. He then backed up his words with his money, opening up a school for black students and personally paying the teachers’ salaries out of his own pocket. He also hired black employees when others wouldn’t.
“He hired blacks in his shops when that was not the norm,” Joe Walsh, a member of the Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park, told the National Review. “He was BLM [Black Lives Matter] before there was a slogan.”
But it looks like even white men who stood against oppression and racism before it was the trendy thing to do aren’t safe from being branded racists. Baldwin’s statue was painted red and its pedestal scrawled with the word “colonizer” by vandals this week, who apparently didn’t bother looking up the identity of the white guy before deciding he was a bigot.
Ironically, protesters also branded a nearby monument to Union soldiers with the acronym “BLM” for “Black Lives Matter.” That monument read, “All who have labored today in behalf of the Union have wrought for the best interests of the country and the world not only for the present but for all future ages.”
Well, at least until now.