February 17, 2020

Vandals used red spray paint to deface Plymouth Rock and several other historic landmarks in Plymouth, Massachusetts, town officials said Monday.

Plymouth Rock is said to mark the landing place of the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. The other sites that were targeted include the National Monument to the Forefathers and a statue called "The Pilgrim Maiden."

Melissa Arrighi, Plymouth's town manager, tweeted that she was "saddened and sickened" by the vandalism, adding that the police are investigating. Lea Filson, executive director of See Plymouth, said seeing "this type of disrespect for the historic reminders of the Mayflower story is both sad and unsettling. The outpouring of concern and anger over the incident has been a positive ending to a thoughtless gesture."

By Monday night, most of the graffiti had been removed. This isn't the first time the rock has been targeted; in 2014, someone spray painted "LIES" onto the boulder. Plymouth will celebrate its 400th anniversary this year, with an opening ceremony in late April. Catherine Garcia

September 28, 2015

Just days after controversial Catholic missionary Fr. Junipero Serra was canonized by Pope Francis, vandals targeted his final resting place, damaging statues and gravestones at the Carmel Mission in California.

Paint was splattered across the cemetery and basilica, and "Saint of Genocide" was written on a headstone, the Los Angeles Times reports. Carmel Police say the vandalism took place Saturday night or early Sunday morning, and Sgt. Luke Powell said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime because the perpetrators targeted "specifically the headstones of people of European descent, and not Native American descent."

Serra brought Catholicism to what is now California in the 1700s, establishing nine missions from San Diego to San Francisco. He believed the Native Americans living in the area were heathens in need of being saved, and baptized thousands; those who tried to leave the missions were flogged. Historians cannot agree on whether Serra participated in the violence. On Wednesday, Pope Francis said at the canonization ceremony that Serra "sought to defend the dignity of the native community." Catherine Garcia

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