Protesters involved with toppling statues of Confederate soldiers, leaders, and icons, have moved on to tear down any statue with any connection to slavery. This now includes a statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who ended slavery, in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the D.C. statue commemorates Lincoln’s “1863 proclamation freeing enslaved people in the rebel states at the height of the Civil War.”
But, protesters have announced they are intending to topple the statue on Thursday.
From the report:
The Emancipation Memorial, erected in 1876 in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill, has long drawn criticism for its paternalistic imagery of a standing President Lincoln looming over a kneeling black man and his broken shackles. The planned attempt to remove the statue comes as protesters across the country have taken aim at statues of slave owners, Confederate leaders and purveyors of white supremacy.
Demonstrators who want the bronze statue gone gathered Tuesday evening in Lincoln Park to condemn its design, which they say implies that it was only Lincoln’s benevolence, and not the efforts of black people, that ended American slavery.
Funds for the controversial statue in Lincoln Park were raised entirely from freed slaves, incl. black veterans of the Union Army. But a charity run by whites was in charge of commissioning it. Protestors plan to topple the statue today. @TMannWSJ https://t.co/bQfWK4cfJG
— Josh Jamerson (@joshjame) June 25, 2020
According to one of the protesters, 20-year-old Glenn Foster, the statue serves as a reminder that African Americans were only served their freedom and liberation by white people.
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“As a black man, when I see that statue, I see that my freedom and liberation only lies with white people,” he said via the report.
The Wall Street Journal adds:
Organizers said they planned to return in force Thursday evening to pull the statue off its granite pedestal, and authorities appear ready to counter any such effort. Several dozen officers from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Park Police watched over demonstrators on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, the Army said it was activating 400 members of the D.C. National Guard, at the request of the Interior Department, to help guard government property and monuments in the capital.
The decision to tear down the statue comes as President Trump announced on Tuesday people caught vandalizing or destroying could face up to 10 years in prison.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
“This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!” he added.
…..This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
….the good and the bad. It is important for us to understand and remember, even in turbulent and difficult times, and learn from them. Knowledge comes from the most unusual of places!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 25, 2020