A petition demanding the removal of a monument featuring former President Abraham Lincoln and a freed slave appears to completely ignore the origins of the statue as a token of gratitude, paid for entirely by formerly enslaved people.
The movement to get Lincoln Park’s Emancipation Memorial taken down is being spearheaded by Marcus Goodwin, a Democratic candidate for city council in Washington, D.C.
Goodwin’s Change.org petition has gathered nearly 6,000 signatures since it was created last week.
“It’s time to take down monuments that memorialize the intended subservience of black people in this country,” the petition reads.
“Confederate statues are the obvious example, but this statue in Washington, DC perpetuates the idea that we are beneath white people and should simply be grateful for the scraps that have been thrown our way.”
The anti-statue crusade appears to be part of Goodwin’s campaign, which includes bizarre photo stunts of the candidate on top of the massive monument:
Statues that memorialize and emphasize the subservience of black people should not be honored in DC.
— Marcus Goodwin (@GoodWinForDC) June 18, 2020
The memorial, which features President Lincoln and a kneeling former slave preparing to take his first free step over broken chains, has “degrading racial undertones,” according to Goodwin’s petition.
The memorial’s nefarious racist undertones were likely missed by the freed slaves who financed the monument in the wake of Lincoln’s assassination.
According to the National Park Service, the first contribution for construction of the monument was given by Charlotte Scott, a freed slave.
Scott gave her first $5 earned as a free woman toward the memorial.
Donations from other freed slaves soon flooded in, with black Union military veterans being the largest contributors. By the time the monument was raised in Washington, D.C., the only part not financed by freedmen and women was the government-gifted pedestal.
Despite this history, Goodwin isn’t alone in demanding this statue be removed.
Democratic D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Norton, a non-voting delegate, announced this week she was introducing a bill that would move the statue from its prominent public location to a museum.
The designers of the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park in DC didn’t take into account the views of African Americans. It shows. Blacks too fought to end enslavement. That’s why I’m introducing a bill to move this statue to a museum. pic.twitter.com/A0MOnISH1N
— Eleanor Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) June 23, 2020
As this most recent attack on an American memorial hints, the crusade to remove monuments appears to be focused more on personal emotions than historical facts.
If Americans aren’t careful, the lessons and values cherished by our previous generations will soon be lost to the insatiable outrage mob.
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