Leave the “Emancipation Proclamation” Statue Alone!

The Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C., June 19, 2020.

So, just to make it absolutely clear: The statue in question here owes its existence not to “rich white people,” but to newly freed slaves, the first of whom contributed to it her first-ever earnings as a free citizen of the United States. To tear it down would be a grave insult to the memory of those who created it.

It deserves to stand forever, a silent monument whose history and character speak louder than anyone who would destroy it.
In a quiet, tree-lined area about a mile from the U.S. Capitol building, a statue has stood since 1876. Unveiled eleven years after Abraham Lincoln’s death, it depicts the 16th president holding the Emancipation Proclamation as a freed slave kneels below, his bonds being severed. Congress originally named the site of the statue, called the Freedman’s Memorial on the plaque affixed to it, Lincoln Square, making it “the first site to bear the name of the martyred president,” according to the National Park Service. It is also known as the Emancipation Memorial.Lincoln Park’s typical quiet was broken on Tuesday by an increasingly familiar sight: a crowd seeking a statue to tear down. The more such groups deviate further from anything resembling legitimate protest against the unjust death of George Floyd, the more one questions their historical literacy. Indeed, it seems clear at this point that any old-looking statue will do: Figures of everyone from the Union general and racially progressive president Ulysses S. Grant to the abolitionist Hans Christian Heg have gotten the treatment. But if the protesters knew anything about the history and a character of the Emancipation Memorial, they would abandon their stated promise to tear the statue down.The man who appears to be leading these efforts on the ground  declared:

“We are going to show up and wake these rich white people up,” he said while standing in front of the statue.

Had he turned around, he might have noticed a plaque at the statue’s base that reads as follows:

 

In grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln, this monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of Saint Louis MO: With funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States, declared free by his proclamation, January 1st A.D. 1863. The first contribution of five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott, a freed woman of Virginia, being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her succession and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory.

So, just to make it absolutely clear: The statue in question here owes its existence not to “rich white people,” but to newly freed slaves, the first of whom contributed to it her first-ever earnings as a free citizen of the United States. To tear it down would be a grave insult to the memory of those who created it.

~ From “The National Review

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