Michael Higginbotham speaks with CNN's Don Lemon on Monday, June 22.
Michael Higginbotham, professor of constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, said from a historical perspective attempts to pull down statues of former US President Andrew Jackson were “long overdue.”
“Many Americans, they have sort of a movie version of American history, like a Birth of a Nation or Gone With the Wind version, and it’s false, it’s one-sided, and it’s superficial,” Higginbotham told CNN’s Don Lemon.
A debate has raged across the US over recent weeks over whether statues of controversial figures from American history should be removed or left standing, include Confederate war heroes and former slave owners.
On Monday, protesters in Washington D.C. attempted to pull down a statue of Jackson, the seventh US President, who has been criticized for his harsh treatment of Native Americans. Jackson’s policies eventually led to the forced relocation of Native Americans, killing thousands along the infamous “Trail of Tears.”
President Donald Trump in a tweet on Monday described the protesters’ actions as “disgraceful vandalism.”
But Higginbotham said that the US needed to be “more sophisticated about our analysis of our founders and of our history,” including adding statues of people whose morality has “stood the test of time.”
“People like George Wythe, who signed the Declaration of Independence but freed all his slaves at the time he inherited them,” Higginbotham said.