D.C. Congresswoman Del. Eleanor Norton announced plans Tuesday to introduce legislation to remove the Emancipation Memorial from Lincoln Park.
The scene shows former President Abraham Lincoln standing over a kneeling, un-clothed African-American slave who has broken chains on his feet and hands.
“You will soon see my bill to remove this problematic statue from Lincoln Park,” Norton said in a statement.
Norton said the statue fails to note how enslaved African Americans pushed for their own emancipation.
“Understandably, they were only recently liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom, she said. “However, in his keynote address at the unveiling of this statue, Frederick Douglass also expressed his displeasure with the figure.
The Emancipation Memorial was dedicated on April 14, 1876, the anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Frederick Douglass spoke at the unveiling.
“Because Lincoln Park is National Park Service (NPS) land, I will work with the NPS to see whether NPS has the authority to remove the statue without an act of Congress and if so, we will seek its removal without a bill, Norton stated. “This statue has been controversial from the start. It is time it was placed in a museum.”
While it has stood for 144 years, now, in 2020, it has become a subject of scrutiny.
A replica of the statue is located in Boston, and Mayor Marty Walsh is considering removing it.