Emancipation Memorial in Boston to be removed following unanimous vote by Boston Art Commission

by Laura Mize · Jul 1st, 2020 1:06 pm

Last Updated Jul 2nd, 2020 at 2:21 pm

The Emancipation Memorial in Boston, which depicts President Abraham Lincoln and a newly freed former slave, will be taken down after the Boston Art Commission voted unanimously for its removal.

The memorial is a replica of one in Washington, D.C., which was paid for by freed former slaves. The replica has stood in Boston since 1879, and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass spoke at the statue's dedication.

His remarks included a wish that the current generation and future ones would learn from the statue "something of the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln, the first martyr president of the United States."

Tory Bullock, who started an online petition calling for the statue's removal, wrote of his frustration with seeing the freed former slave depicted in the statue as kneeling next to Lincoln.

"I've been watching this man on his knees since I was a kid," he wrote. "It's supposed to represent freedom but instead represents us still beneath someone else. I would always ask myself, ‘If he's free, why is he still on his knees?' No kid should have to ask themselves that question anymore."

As one woman pointed out, though, the man in the statue has his head raised and about to stand.

"That man is not kneeling on two knees with his head bowed," the woman said in a video posted on Twitter. "He is in the act of getting up. And his head is up, not bowed, because he's looking forward to a future of freedom."


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