Boston To Remove Statue Of Slave Kneeling Before Lincoln

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A statue that depicts a freed slave kneeling at Abraham Lincoln's feet rests on a pedestal, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Boston. The statue in Boston is a copy of the Emancipation Memorial, also known as the Emancipation Group and the Freedman's Memorial, that was erected in Lincoln Park, in Washington, D.C., in 1876. Three years later, the copy was installed in Boston. Calls are mounting for the removal of both statues. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s arts commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to remove a statue that depicts a freed slave kneeling at Abraham Lincoln’s feet.

The commission had fielded escalating complaints about the Emancipation Memorial, also known as the Emancipation Group and the Freedman’s Memorial, as a nation confronting racial injustice rethinks old imagery.

The statue has stood in a park just off Boston Common since 1879. It’s a copy of an identical monument that was erected in Washington, D.C., three years earlier. The copy was installed in Boston because the city was home to the statue’s white creator, Thomas Ball.

Although the monument was created to celebrate the freeing of slaves in America, its design disturbed many who objected to the optics of a Black man kneeling before Lincoln.

“What I heard today is that it hurts to look at this piece, and in the Boston landscape, we should not have works that bring shame to any groups of people,” said Ekua Holmes, vice chairperson of the arts commission.

“After engaging in a public process, it’s clear that residents and visitors to Boston have been uncomfortable with this statue,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement.

More than 12,000 people had signed a petition demanding the statue’s removal. Officials did not immediately set a date to take it down, and said details would be worked out at their next meeting on July 14.

The memorial has been on Boston’s radar at least since 2018, when it launched a comprehensive review of whether public sculptures, monuments and other artworks reflected the city’s diversity and didn’t offend communities of color. The arts commission said it was paying extra attention to works with “problematic histories.”

“As we continue our work to make Boston a more equitable and just city, it’s important that we look at the stories being told by the public art in all of our neighborhoods,” Walsh said.

Freed Black donors paid for the original in Washington; white politician and circus showman Moses Kimball financed the copy in Boston. The inscription on both reads: “A race set free and the country at peace. Lincoln rests from his labors.”

But Blacks weren’t part of the design process, and the memorial’s central visual takeaway — a Black man kneeling before his white savior — has had people cringing for years.

Protesters have vowed to tear down the original statue in Washington, which has been protected by National Guard troops guarding it and other monuments.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I have no Issue with statue removals per say . I don’t care about it. But if the reason they do it is because of this criminal Floyd who resisted arrest protests . If they do it because they are scared of thugs looters and wild animals then the statue removal is akin to submitting to terrorists demands

    • Thank you Boston. I would not like to see Jewish Slaves serving Egytians or Germans. Even Missouri changed its Flag after 100 years. Traitors Statues are coming down everywhere. Defunding the police just started. Liberals are winning everywhere. AOC was reelected by 78%. America is Great Again. Thank You President Trump. I am aware it was not your intention of MAGA , the fact is YOU are responsible that it happened. AMERICA IS GREAT AGAIN. (Almost)

      • You must be well aware that it’s not just “traitors’ statues,” but ones of Union soldiers (including black ones) and generals, abolitionists, etc.

        And that you’re cheering on the mobs doing this is pathetic. Never have we Jews fared well when mobs are on the rampage; eventually they’ll come for you too.

      • > “I would not like to see Jewish Slaves serving Egytians or Germans.”

        The topic of the sculpture is emancipation from slavery to freedom (it was completely paid for by donations from freed slaves). To be comparable to the topic, your remarks “mean” that you would not like to see the Jews emancipated from Egypt. Or in the case of the Germans, you would not like to see the Allies liberating the death camps. Follow the advice of the Rambam – think a thousand times before writing once.

  2. > “rethinks old imagery”

    The original memorial (except the pedestal on which it was placed) was paid for exclusively by donations from freed slaves. Maybe the wishes of those freed slaves – and their donations – should be respected? And maybe they have something to teach the “nation” that – in its hubris – thinks it knows better.

  3. We yiden must “Respect and remember HISTORY” or “have no future” REMEMBER what Amolek did to us. Remember what the Nazis did. And remember what this TRAITORS did to america. Remember not with Statues. Remember with taking down their statues, with good deeds and helping their victims. These are the same old crowd who denied the Jews our basic rights. Remember not long ago the signs. “Blacks, Jews and dogs not allowed.

    • @unstableFOOL

      All those things are Democrat legacy, not Republican. That’s why the Democrats want them removed. They’re hoping to rewrite history. Republicans want history to be remembered so it doesn’t get repeated.

    • And remember what mobs did to us, with pogroms and so forth. The same crowd who are taking down statues today will happily put you, as a Jew and as a white person, in a boxcar tomorrow.

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