When protesters toppled the statue of Hans Christian Heg outside the Wisconsin State Capitol late Tuesday night, they beheaded and knocked down a monument of someone whose life in America was dedicated to the cause of freeing slaves.
Born in 1829 in Norway, Heg immigrated to America, eventually settling in Muskego, Wisconsin.
“Since ‘freedom, equality and brotherhood’ were the very life of the simple pioneer society of Muskego, slavery was abhorrent to Hans Heg,” a University of Wisconsin publication says.
Heg became an anti-slavery activist and helped a militia who fought slave catchers, and served as a colonel of a Wisconsin infantry unit in the Civil War.
He was injured in the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, and died one day later.
In a letter to his wife during the war, Heg said “You may become a widow, but you will never be the widow of a coward.”