A statue in a Boston public park that depicted a formerly enslaved man on his knees in front of former US President, Abraham Lincoln was been removed this week, 141 years after it was erected.
The “Emancipation” statue has stood in Park Square since 1879. Boston Art Commission voted to remove it in June after two public hearings and hundreds of letters and survey responses.
A spokeswoman for Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh in a statement to CNN said;
We’re pleased to have taken it down this morning. As expressed by so many during the public process this year, we fully agree that the statue should be relocated to a new publicly accessible location where its history and context can be better explained.
The decision for removal acknowledges the statue’s role in perpetuating harmful prejudices and obscuring the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s fight for freedom.
The decision came in June, at the height of nationwide protests that took place following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer.
The statue is a replica of one in Washington, DC, and it’s been controversial since its installation in 1876 for how it portrays the freed slave.
It shows President Lincoln in a suit standing above a partially dressed former slave rising from broken shackles, according to the Boston Arts and Culture website.
It was donated by Moses Kimball, a politician and founder of Boston Museum.
While highlighting systemic racism around the country, protesters also turned their attention to statues and monuments, leading to the destruction and removal of many that have been deemed racist by today’s standards.
While the Emancipation Group statue was initially meant to commemorate the liberation of slaves, critics said its depiction of the formerly enslaved man on his knees in front of a white man did little to celebrate his freedom.
The spokesperson for Boston Mayor stated that the statue will not be destroyed, but will rather be relocated to a location where “its history and context can be better explained”.