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White woman filmed vandalizing York monument in Oregon

White woman is filmed vandalizing Oregon monument to only black member of Lewis and Clark Expedition while screaming about ‘unity’

  • The unidentified woman was filmed using purple spray paint on Tuesday to deface the bust of York at Mount Tabor Park in Portland 
  • York was a slave who became the first black man to cross America as part of the Corps of Discovery 
  • The statue was placed there by an unidentified person back in February after the previous statue of white pioneer Harvey Scott was toppled by BLM protestors 
  • When the woman was confronted by a passerby, she screamed that unity wasn’t replacing a ‘white man with a f***ing black man’ 

A white woman has been caught on camera vandalizing an Oregon monument to the only black member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition while screaming about ‘unity’ and how she has been the victim of racial discrimination.

The unidentified woman was filmed using purple spray paint on Tuesday to deface the bust of York at Mount Tabor Park in PortlandWillamette Week reports.

York was a slave who became the first black man to cross America as part of the Corps of Discovery with explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the early 1800s. He was enslaved by Clark at the time.  

The monument was placed there by an unidentified person back in February after the previous statue of white pioneer Harvey Scott was toppled by protestors last year.

The unidentified woman was filmed using purple spray paint on Tuesday to deface the bust of York at Mount Tabor Park in Portland, Oregon

When the woman was confronted by a passerby as she was spray painting the monument, she started shouting that she had been prejudiced against by black and Hispanic people.   

‘It’s love and unity… not to replace a white man with a f***ing black man. That’s not f***ing unity,’ the woman screamed. 

The woman, dressed in workout clothes and sunglasses, repeatedly shouted ‘f**k all of you’.

She then added: ‘I will pay for damages if you want me to’.

The witness who spotted the woman and started filming her described her as ‘upset’ and ‘shaking’.

‘I got the sense that she was really upset about a black statue being there, more than anything. Which is really scary,’ the witness said.

‘I was really upset. What do I do? Do I grab the can away from her?’ 

The York monument mysteriously appeared in February with a plaque that reads: 'The first African American to cross North America and reach the Pacific Coast'

The York monument mysteriously appeared in February with a plaque that reads: ‘The first African American to cross North America and reach the Pacific Coast’

The statue of Harvey Scott that the woman referred to was among a number of monuments torn down in Portland amid Black Lives Matter protests last year

The statue of Harvey Scott that the woman referred to was among a number of monuments torn down in Portland amid Black Lives Matter protests last year

The statue of Harvey Scott that the woman referred to was among a number of monuments torn down in Portland amid Black Lives Matter protests last year.  

The York monument mysteriously appeared in February with a plaque that reads: ‘The first African American to cross North America and reach the Pacific Coast’. 

It is not clear who placed the York monument in the park but the city’s parks department decided to keep it in place because it had been deemed safe for public viewing.

‘This past summer, there’s been concern about some of the public art that many states have displayed, and so folks really see this installation as a bit of a reckoning,’ Portland Parks and Recreation Director Adena Long told the Associated Press. 

‘The story of York is really compelling and very sad.’ 

There are several York memorials across Portland, including at Lewis & Clark College. A statue of York alongside Williams Clark was removed from the University of Portland last year due to vandalism. 

York was Clark’s slave at the time they traveled across North America in the early 1800s. 

According to historians, York was an essential member of the expedition and repeatedly asked for his freedom following the conclusion of the journey. 

Lewis denied his request.  

York: The black hero of Lewis and Clark expedition who was denied his freedom afterwards

York was enslaved by William Clark and became the first black man to cross North America and reach the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s as part of Lewis and Clark Expedition.  

According to historians, York was an essential member of the expedition and repeatedly asked for his freedom following the conclusion of the journey.  

Lewis denied his request. 

In the epic expedition, York had gone on scouting missions, had hunted buffalo and deer to feed the group and helped tend to the sick. 

Historian Stephen Ambrose, in his book ‘Undaunted Courage’ about the expedition, described York as ‘strong, agile, a natural athlete.’ 

York (depicted on the right) was enslaved by William Clark and became the first black man to cross North America and reach the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s as part of Lewis and Clark Expedition

York (depicted on the right) was enslaved by William Clark and became the first black man to cross North America and reach the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s as part of Lewis and Clark Expedition

Native Americans were fascinated by the first black person they had ever seen. 

‘They did not look upon him as a slave or as a mere man, but as an extraordinary person more interesting and elevated than any of his companions,’ the National Park Service says in a brief biography.

After the expedition was over, everyone but York was rewarded with money and land. York, whose wife was also a slave and lived in another town, demanded freedom as a reward for his services on the expedition, Ambrose wrote. But Clark refused and even gave him ‘a Severe trouncing’ for being insolent.

Clark later claimed to a friend that he’d freed York. Historians haven’t been able to verify that.

Collier said that in the legends of the expedition, York’s role has been overlooked, and that the bust ‘is really furthering that conversation here in our very, very white city.’ 

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