A video shows a white woman defacing a monument dedicated to Lewis and Clark’s black guide.
A video shows a 43-year-old white woman named Jeanette K. Grode vandalizing a park monument in Portland, Oregon, dedicated to York, the sole Black member of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, which explored the western half of the country in the early 1800s. Grode was charged with vandalism by the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), but she was not arrested.
Grode is seen in the video conversing to others after spray spraying purple paint over the monument’s flanks. “Way to be part of the solution,” a man recording her sarcastically remarks. “Way to go.”
Grode reacts, “Jeanette K. Grode is my full name. If you want me to, I’ll pay for the damages. All of you are f*cking f*cking f*cking f Everyone, including me, has been prejudiced against Black and Hispanic people. I’m sure you’ve also been prejudiced against others.”
Grode said, “I don’t give a f*ck.” “Go ahead and do whatever the fck you want. This isn’t about replacing a white man with a fcking Black man; it’s about a lack of togetherness. That’s not what I’m talking about when I say “fcking unity.” Yeah, go ahead shake your heads. I wrote the white privilege book or whatever the fck else you want for your unity spiritual center.”
Grode has since been charged with criminal mischief, abuse of venerated objects, the unlawful applying of graffiti and vandalism. Police didn’t jail her “due to booking restrictions,” the PPB said in a Thursday statement.
Grode’s comments reflect the monument’s recent history following several months of racial justice protests that put the city in national headlines.
In October 2020, local racial justice activists pulled down the previous statue of Harvey Scott. Scott was a white 19th-century conservative newspaper editor who used his publication to oppose social reforms, including women’s right to vote.
The monument to York, located at the top of Mount Tabor Park in the city’s east-central region, was erected by an anonymous artist on March 1, 2021.
York had been enslaved by the father of famed explorer William Clark. After Clark’s father died, he left York to Clark in his will. Clark took York on his famed expedition as a slave.
During their travels, Clark demanded that York use his appearance to intimidate the. This is a brief summary.