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Now statues of Captain Cook are targeted by Black Lives Matter campaigners

Now statues of Captain Cook are targeted by Black Lives Matter campaigners in updated ‘hitlist’ of historical figures they want to see ‘toppled’

  • Several monuments commemorating the sailor have been added to a hitlist
  • Targets for either removal or renaming include James Cook University Hospital
  • They are among 125 under-fire landmarks featured on map by Topple The Racists

Statues of Captain James Cook are in the crosshairs of Black Lives Matter activists who claim the explorer ‘symbolises racial oppression and violence’.

Several monuments commemorating the 18th Century sailor have been added to a ‘hitlist’ drawn up by anti-racism campaigners. 

Fresh targets for either removal or renaming include James Cook University Hospital, and a Captain Cook museum in Middlesbrough.

They are among 125 under-fire landmarks featured on a map by Topple The Racists, a website pinpointing their locations.

Statues of Captain James Cook (one on the Mall in London, pictured) are in the crosshairs of Black Lives Matter activists who claim the explorer ‘symbolises racial oppression and violence’

They are among 125 under-fire landmarks featured on a map by Topple The Racists, a website pinpointing their locations

They are among 125 under-fire landmarks featured on a map by Topple The Racists, a website pinpointing their locations

Compiled by the Stop Trump Coalition, the hitlist emerged last summer during widespread BLM protests when several statues were toppled or defaced.

A figure of slave trader Edward Colston was memorably ripped of its plinth and dumped into Bristol Harbour in June.

Demonstrations died down as the second onslaught of coronavirus hit, but now activists have statues in their sights once again.

Captain Cook in particular has become a target, with two statues in London and Whitby, two museums and a pub listed.

Outlining the reasoning for wanting to uproot a statue of the navigator in Great Ayton, the website says: ‘James Cook was a colonialist who murdered Maori people in their homeland.’

For the Captain Cook museum in Whitby it adds: ‘The first encounter between Maori and Captain Cook and his crew ended in the murder and brutalising of nine Turanaga-nui-a-kiwa ancestors. 

‘In 1779, Captain Cook was killed after his attempt to kidnap a Hawai’ian king. This museum is purely celebratory, with no criticisms of Cook made.’

Fresh targets for either removal or renaming include James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough

Fresh targets for either removal or renaming include James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough

A figure of slave trader Edward Colston was memorably ripped of its plinth and dumped into Bristol Harbour in June

A figure of slave trader Edward Colston was memorably ripped of its plinth and dumped into Bristol Harbour in June

And for the statue planted on the Mall in London: ‘James Cook invaded Australia just over 250 years ago… What followed was 250 of genocidal activities and policies based on race that murdered thousands of women, men and children. Captain Cook symbolises racial oppression and violence. It must be removed.’ 

A BBC poll 20 years ago ranked Cook number 12 on a list of the 100 Greatest Britons for his exploration of Australia and New Zealand. 

Tory MP Robert Goodwill, whose Whitby and Scarborough constituency is home to some of the targets, lashed out at the campaigners last night.

Speaking to the Telegraph, which first reported on the updated list, he said: ‘They’re trying to erase important aspects of our history, and we all need to study history and learn from any mistakes. 

‘There were things done in the name of the Empire that would not be acceptable now, but we don’t need to expunge them from history.’

It came after Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick railed against ‘town hall militants and woke worthies’ trying to erase British history.

The minister has announced plans to upheave legislation to require heritage assets to win planning permission following a local consultation before being removed.

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