Many monuments and memorials referring to American historical figures have been threatened with demolition as the anti-racist movement associates them with racial injustice. Even Abraham Lincoln, who abolished slavery, seemed to be in danger.
The Emancipation Memorial was dismantled in downtown Boston on Tuesday. The cultural site portrayed a freed slave on one knee next to Abraham Lincoln, who is holding a copy of his Emancipation Proclamation.
The monument, erected in 1879, commemorated the emancipation of slaves in America, depicting Archer Alexander, who escaped slavery, helped the Union Army, and was the last person to be caught under the Fugitive Slave Act.
Boston’s public arts commission voted for the removal following a petition signed by over 12,000 people. The monument’s adversaries reportedly perceived the man, who gets to his feet and frees himself from shackles, as kneeling before Lincoln. According to the commission statement, the statue “perpetuated harmful prejudices and obscured the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s freedoms”.
The sculpture is a miniaturized reproduction of an original monument installed in Washington DC. The latter drew attention last summer, when Black Lives Matter activists and other protesters noted that the Emancipation Memorial inappropriately depicts African Americans, distorting their contribution to liberation from enslavement. Some activists threatened…