Boston will remove statue of freed kneeling slave in front of Lincoln

(Boston) The Boston Arts Committee voted unanimously Tuesday evening to remove a statue of a freed slave kneeling at the feet of Abraham Lincoln.

William J. Kole

Associated Press

The commission received numerous complaints concerning the monument “Emancipation Memorial”.

The statue is in a park just next to the Boston Common public garden from 1879. It is a copy of an identical monument that was erected in Washington, D.C., three years earlier. The copy was installed in Boston because the city was home to the creator of the statue, Thomas Ball, a white man.

Although the monument was created to celebrate the liberation of slaves in America, it has disturbed many people because it shows a black man kneeling before Abraham Lincoln.

“What I heard today is that it hurts to look at this statue, and in the Boston landscape, we shouldn't have works that would shame groups of people “Said Ekua Holmes, vice-chair of the arts commission.

“After engaging in a public process, it becomes clear that residents and visitors to Boston were uncomfortable with this statue,” said Boston mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. .

More than 12 00 0 people had signed a petition requesting the removal of the statue. Those responsible did not immediately set a date to withdraw the work and said the details would be defined at their next meeting on 14 July .

The memorial has been on the radar of the city of Boston at least since 2018, when a full review was launched to find out whether the sculptures, monuments and others public art reflected the diversity of the city and did not offend communities of color. The arts commission said it paid particular attention to works with “problematic stories”.

“As we continue our work to make Boston a fairer and more just city, it is important that we watch the stories told by public art in all of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh.

The white politician and circus man Moses Kimball had funded the creation of this statue in Boston. The inscription on the original and its copy reads as follows: “A race for liberation and a country at peace. Lincoln rests after his work. “

But people of color were not part of the design process, and the central visual view of the memorial – a black man kneeling before his white savior – made his teeth cringe for years.

Demonstrators have promised to demolish the original statue in Washington, which was protected by National Guard troops and other monuments.