Posted on December 30, 2020

Statue of Lincoln With Formerly Enslaved Man at His Feet Is Removed in Boston

Bill Chappell, NPR, December 29, 2020

Workers dismantled a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Boston Tuesday, after the city agreed with protesters who say the memorial is demeaning and lacks proper context. The statue depicts Lincoln holding his hand over a kneeling Black man — a figure modeled on Archer Alexander, the last man captured under the Fugitive Slave Act.


The statue, which stood in Park Square since 1879, is a copy of Thomas Ball’s monument that still stands in Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Park. The original work, which came to be known as the Emancipation Group, was purchased through donations by freed enslaved people and Black veterans of the Union Army. A copy was then erected in Boston, Ball’s hometown.

The Boston Art Commission voted to remove the city’s prominent Lincoln statue six months ago, as protesters against racial injustice called for controversial monuments to be either taken down entirely or placed into a new historical context.

“The decision for removal acknowledged the statue’s role in perpetuating harmful prejudices and obscuring the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s freedoms,” according to the mayor’s office.

The original statue’s creation was sparked the morning after Lincoln died in 1865, when Charlotte Scott, a former Virginia enslaved woman living in Ohio, asked her employer to send $5 to help build a monument to Lincoln, according to the National Park Service. {snip}


Boston’s plans for its statue are still in flux; the mayor’s office says the work will be moved to a “publicly accessible location where its history and context can be better explained.”