Barriers are set up around Abraham Lincoln's emancipation memorial in Washington DC

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Barriers are set up around Abraham Lincoln's emancipation memorial in Washington DC

Barriers have been erected around Abraham Lincoln's emancipation memorial in Washington DC after protesters pledged to tear it down.The Emancipatio

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Barriers have been erected around Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation memorial in Washington DC after protesters pledged to tear it down.

The Emancipation memorial in Washington DC depicts a freed slave kneeling at Abraham Lincoln’s feet.  

Critics said the statue, originally constructed in 1876 to celebrate liberation, looks more like black subservience and white supremacy in 2020.  

The Emancipation Memorial, also known as the Emancipation Group and the Freedman’s Memorial, was erected in Washington’s Lincoln Park in 1876. 

A copy of the Washington statue was also installed in Boston, home to the statue’s white creator Thomas Ball, in 1879. The Boston figure is also on the radar of campaigners and a petition is being circulated to have the memorial removed.   

Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC

Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC

Barriers are erected around the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, which depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln, yesterday

Barriers are erected around the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, which depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln, yesterday 

Crews install fencing around the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC. The Army has activated 400 unarmed Washington D.C. National Guard troops in an effort to protect monuments amid the ongoing protests over Black deaths at the hands of police

Crews install fencing around the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC. The Army has activated 400 unarmed Washington D.C. National Guard troops in an effort to protect monuments amid the ongoing protests over Black deaths at the hands of police

The Emancipation Memorial in Washington's Lincoln Park depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln yesterday. Calls are intensifying for the removal of the statue as the nation confronts racial injustice

The Emancipation Memorial in Washington’s Lincoln Park depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln yesterday. Calls are intensifying for the removal of the statue as the nation confronts racial injustice

Barriers are erected around the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, which depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln yesterday

Barriers are erected around the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, which depicts a freed slave kneeling at the feet of President Abraham Lincoln yesterday 

Protesters gathered on Tuesday to demand the removal of the original in Washington, where the Army activated about 400 unarmed National Guard personnel ahead of calls circulating on social media to tear it down on Thursday evening.  

It wasn’t clear whether the protesters planned to topple the statue themselves or to demand the structure be removed by authorities, the Washington Post reported. 

However, on Tuesday, organizers of the protest said they would not be working with the police and would achieve change ‘by any means necessary’ as they crowded near the 150-year-old statue.  

Police stand near the Emancipation Memorial, protected by a fence and concrete blocks, at Lincoln Park in Washington, DC yesterday. As the wave of anti-racism protests rocking the United States brings down monuments to figures linked to the country's history of slavery, the spotlight is shifting to other prominent people long considered untouchable

Police stand near the Emancipation Memorial, protected by a fence and concrete blocks, at Lincoln Park in Washington, DC yesterday. As the wave of anti-racism protests rocking the United States brings down monuments to figures linked to the country’s history of slavery, the spotlight is shifting to other prominent people long considered untouchable

Police stand guard at the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC. The Army has activated 400 unarmed Washington D.C. National Guard troops in an effort to protect monuments amid the ongoing protests over Black deaths at the hands of police

Police stand guard at the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC. The Army has activated 400 unarmed Washington D.C. National Guard troops in an effort to protect monuments amid the ongoing protests over Black deaths at the hands of police

Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC

Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC

Police told the Wall Street Journal that they will prevent the statue from being damaged.   

‘We certainly will not allow for the destruction of property in the city,’ a spokesperson said. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), who has expressed a willingness to remove the statue, warned yesterday against the dangers of a ‘mob’ deciding to tear it down, and that they should follow proper procedures and petition its removal.

The inscription on the statue, which was originally financed by black donors, reads: ‘A race set free and the country at peace. Lincoln rests from his labors.’ 

A man shouts as demonstrators argue for and against the removal of the statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during a protest at the Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park near the U.S. Capitol in Washington yesterday

A man shouts as demonstrators argue for and against the removal of the statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during a protest at the Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park near the U.S. Capitol in Washington yesterday 

Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC

Protesters for and against the removal of the Emancipation Memorial debate in Lincoln Park yesterday in Washington, DC

Demonstrators argue for and against the removal of the statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during a protest at the Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. yesterday

Demonstrators argue for and against the removal of the statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during a protest at the Emancipation Memorial at Lincoln Park near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. yesterday

US president Donald Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday he could see ‘controversy but I can also see beauty’ in the Emancipation Memorial in Washington.

He suggested that activists who want to see certain memorials removed should petition government.

He said: ‘You know, we can take things down, too. 

‘I can understand certain things being taken down. But they ought to go through a process, legally. And then we take it down, in some cases put ’em in museums or wherever they may go.’

But Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington DC’s non-voting delegate in the US House, said the monument ignores the fact that black Americans played a pivotal role in securing their own freedom.

‘Blacks too fought to end enslavement,’ she tweeted this week, saying she was introducing a bill to move the statue to a museum.

Despite being paid for by black donors, protesters calling for it to be taken down say the former slaves who paid it had no say in how it would be built and that even in its unveiling, abolitionist Fredrick Douglas said it ‘perpetuated negative stereotypes about African Americans’.  

Congresswoman Elenor Holmes Norton said Tuesday she would introduce a bill to have the Emancipation memorial removed

Congresswoman Elenor Holmes Norton said Tuesday she would introduce a bill to have the Emancipation memorial removed

Criticism has constantly surrounded the memorial, pictured above, because of the way in which it depicts Lincoln towering over a freed person kneeling on the ground with him looking up. Below the work 'emancipation' is written

Criticism has constantly surrounded the memorial, pictured above, because of the way in which it depicts Lincoln towering over a freed person kneeling on the ground with him looking up. Below the work ’emancipation’ is written 

The speaker pictured on Tuesday said Lincoln only wanted to free slaves for 'political advancement'

The speaker pictured on Tuesday said Lincoln only wanted to free slaves for ‘political advancement’

‘He [Lincoln] freed the slaves for political advancement,’ one speaker said at a rally in front of the memorial on Tuesday, according to WUSA9 journalist Tom Dempsey. 

‘Not because he cared, not because he wanted to. 

‘And the thing is that when we freed ourselves, we had seven years of progress, the best seven years for black people in the entire American history’. 

Police in riot gear were pictured standing in a group on the outskirts of the protest but no run-ins were reported.   

Organizers The Freedom Neighborhood said they would not be working with police in their protests

Organizers The Freedom Neighborhood said they would not be working with police in their protests

LINCOLN’S EMANCIPATION MEMORIAL 

 

The Emancipation Memorial statue was first erected in Lincoln Park in Washington D.C. on April 11, 1876.  

The memorial was paid for by formerly enslaved people, many of them Black war veterans.

Despite funding the project, the former slaves had no say on the design of the statue.    

Yet criticism has constantly surrounded the memorial because of the way in which it depicts Lincoln towering over a freed person. 

Critics say the design does not recognize the work of slaves to establish their own freedom. 

Protesters this week said that Lincoln’s idolization is misguided, as he only freed black people for his own political advancement.  

Abolitionist Fredrick Douglas even said as he unveiled the statue that it ‘perpetuated negative stereotypes about African Americans’. 

‘We’re kicking off the revolution with a series of shutting down the Capitol events and bringing attention to the injustices in the black community starting with Lincoln Park, a statue that embodies the racial undertones of black people being inferior to white people,’ The Freedom Neighborhood said in a social media post.  

 The group added that they would not be working with police to enact the change ‘nor will we seek any relationship with them’. 

‘In order to create change, we will do so by any means necessary. If you want a revolution, it won’t happen by being peaceful,’ the group wrote. 

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton has also said she wants the statue removed and will introduce legislation to do so.  

‘Because Lincoln Park is National Park Service (NPS) land, I will work with the NPS to see whether NPS has the authority to remove the statue without an act of Congress, and if so, we will seek its removal without a bill,’ said Norton in a statement . 

‘This statue has been controversial from the start. It is time it was placed in a museum.’ 

The Emancipation statue was first erected on April 11, 1876, exactly eleven years to the day of Lincoln’s assassination. 

It was paid for by formerly enslaved people, many of them Black veterans, to honor Lincoln for the Emancipation Proclamation. 

The fundraising was started after Virginian Charlotte Scott donated the first $5 she earned as a free person to create a memorial to Lincoln, according to DCist. 

The statue is located at the center of Lincoln Park, which is itself located midway between the U.S. Capitol and RFK Stadium.  

The Emancipation Memorial statue originally faced the Capitol but was moved 180 degrees to face a statue celebrating African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune when that was erected in Lincoln Park in 1974. 



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