Calls are intensifying for the removal of twin Emancipation memorials in Washington, D.C., and Boston that depict a freed slave kneeling at Abraham Lincoln’s feet — optics that jar and offend many in a nation confronting racial injustice through a fresh lens.
“I’ve been watching this man on his knees since I was a kid,” said Tory Bullock, a Black actor and activist leading the campaign to get the Boston memorial removed.
Black donors paid for the original in Washington; white politician and circus showman Moses Kimball financed the copy on a downtown square a block away from Boston Common.
But Blacks weren’t part of the design process, and the memorial’s central visual takeaway — a Black man with broken shackles kneeling before his white savior, with a whipping post and chains in the background — has had people cringing for years.
“We haven’t reached peak insanity, but setting an appointment to tear down an Abraham Lincoln statue known as the Emancipation Memorial in the name of racial equity has to be getting close,” conservative commentator Rich Lowry said on Twitter.