(UnitedVoice.com) – One of President Abraham Lincoln’s lasting legacies is his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The move freed the slaves in the United States, and ultimately led to his assassination in 1865. A Democrat is now continuing the crusade to get a statue dedicated to him removed from Lincoln Park in the nation’s capital.
On February 1, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) reintroduced legislation to remove the Emancipation Statue from the federal park. The delegate, who is unable to vote for bills, issued a press release that claimed the statue a “problematic depiction of the fight to achieve emancipation.”
Norton admitted that former slaves paid to have the statue erected, but that wasn’t enough to keep her from attacking it. She claimed they didn’t have any input in the creation of the memorial to the president who freed them, saying it doesn’t show black people “pressed for their own emancipation.” Instead, the representative, who was not alive in 1876 when the statue was dedicated, said the slaves who paid for it “were grateful for any recognition of their freedom.”
I kicked off #BlackHistoryMonth by introducing my bill to remove the Emancipation Statue from Lincoln Park, which depicts an enslaved Black man on his knees.
The statue belongs in a museum where it can be better contextualized.https://t.co/BuprwtQL9y pic.twitter.com/0D3uPeERgK
— Eleanor #DCStatehood Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) February 1, 2023
The National Parks Service acknowledges the criticism of the statue on its website, stating, “Black folks paid for it; white folks chose it.” The completed statue shows Lincoln, holding the Emancipation Proclamation, standing over a black man who is on his knees.
The face of the former slave was modeled after Archer Alexander, who is widely known as the last person apprehended under the Fugitive Slave Act. The chains around Alexander’s wrists are broken, representing his freedom. When the government dedicated the statue on April 14, 1876, the 11th anniversary of the 16th president’s death, almost all of the African-American organizations in Washington, DC, joined the parade.
Norton has introduced legislation to remove the statue at least three times. She wants it moved to a museum where its context can be added to signs, explaining what the statue means.
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