Monday, August 24, 2009

The Plot To Blow Up the Statue of Liberty

In 1965, three black militants from a group called the Black Liberation Front conspired to blow up the Statue of Liberty with help from a white Canadian woman in the Quebecois separatist movement who provided them with dynamite. The photo below is a UPI photo of the four bomb plotters from the front page of the February 17, 1965 issue of the Zanesville, Ohio Times-Recorder.

An interesting 1965 article from Time magazine's online archive describes the "Monumental Plot" in further detail. Robert Steele Collier, the ringleader of the plot, got the idea to blow up the Statue of Liberty (which he called "that damned old bitch") after visiting Cuba in the summer of 1964. Another plotter, Walter Augustus Bowe, later convinced the group to blow up the Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument too, after a replica of the Statue of Liberty convinced them they could blow up the statue's head and torch. The group then obtained dynamite from a Quebecois television personality, Michelle Duclos, but the plot was foiled by Ray Wood, an undercover police officer who was in on the plot the whole time.

Two months later, a Quebecois man who had provided dynamite to Michelle Duclos committed suicide in his jail cell by hanging himself with a leather thong attached to his artificial leg. The newspaper story reporting his death is taken from the front page of the April 19, 1965 issue of the Columbus Daily Telegram.

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