Erected in 1879, Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation statue removed in Boston

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The controversial monument showed the 16th president of the United States with a freed slave appearing to kneel at his feet. Some said the monument showed a newly freed shirtless man rising to his feet while shaking off the broken shackles on his wrists, but critics perceived it as the former slave kneeling before his white emancipator

Abraham Lincoln, who staked his entire political career and ultimately his life on the premise that slavery is evil and that American slaves should be free, just had his statue removed from public view in the quintessentially northern city of Boston.

The effort was spearheaded by … a black man.

“I’m proud, I’m black, and I’m young,” said Dorchester, Mass. native and social media “influencer” Tory Bullock, who started a petition to remove the sculpture earlier this year. The petition quickly drew a mob of thousands of angry signers and the Boston Art Commission voted unanimously in June to have the Emancipation Group Memorial removed from Boston’s Park Square.

The removal came on Dec. 29, according to CBS Channel 4 Boston.

“This image has been doing a lot of disservice to African-Americans in Boston and now it stops,” said Bullock, apparently upset that the statue depicts a formerly enslaved black man kneeling beside President Abraham Lincoln. Critics have called it racist and demeaning, though Lincoln’s emancipation of black slaves was quite real.

“It’s an amazing funeral, I’m here to provide a silent eulogy for this piece of artwork that’s been here for 141 years,” Bullock crowed to WBZ-TV Tuesday as the statue was taken away on a flatbed truck.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh fished for social media sainthood after the removal, saying in a statement: “We’re pleased to have taken it down this morning.”

“As expressed by so many during the public process this year, we fully agree that the statue should be relocated to a new publicly accessible location where its history and context can be better explained,” said Walsh. “The statue is being stored in a controlled storage facility in South Boston until a new location is determined.”

The Emancipation Group, a replica of a statue in Washington D.C., was installed in 1879 and depicts Lincoln standing over Archer Alexander. Alexander was a black man who helped the Union Army, escaped slavery, and was recaptured under the Fugitive Slave Act, according to the Commission.

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