BOSTON (CBS) — The Emancipation Group statue in Park Square will be removed. The Boston Art Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to take out the controversial memorial.

“As we continue our work to make Boston a more equitable and just city, it’s important that we look at the stories being told by the public art in all of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Walsh in a statment. “After engaging in a public process, it’s clear that residents and visitors to Boston have been uncomfortable with this statue, and its reductive representation of the Black man’s role in the abolitionist movement. I fully support the Boston Art Commission’s decision for removal and thank them for their work.”

The Commission plans to add detailed documentation of the statue to its archives, including photos, a 3D scan, and history of the piece and the process the Commission took to remove it.

Before it is removed, the Commission will put a temporary sign at the site, and then a permanent sign after the statue’s removal.

The Emancipation Memorial in Park Square in Boston on June 16, 2020. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Emancipation Group, which is a replica of a statue in Washington D.C., was installed in 1879. It depicts Abraham Lincoln standing over Archer Alexander who is kneeling. Alexander was a Black man who helped the Union Army, escaped slavery, and was recaptured under the Fugitive Slave Act, accounting to the Commission. An inscription on the statue says “A race set free/ and the country at peace / Lincoln / Rests from his labors.”

A removal date has not yet been decided.

The commission will also “determine how to re-contextualize the existing statue in a new publicly accessible setting.”

The public shared their opinions through a survey.

“Public art is storytelling at the street level. As such, the imagery should strike the heart and engage the mind,” said Ekua Holmes, Vice-Chair of the Boston Art Commission in a statement. “What I heard today is that it hurts to look at this piece, and in the Boston landscape we should not have works that bring shame to any groups of people, not only in Boston but across the entire United States.”

Comments (7)
  1. Len Hanley says:

    Giving in to the demands of ignorant domestic terrorists.

  2. I have been an ardent and vocal person on this beautiful work of art. The Art Commission did not publish the survey widely enough for me to see it on here! The art commission is a 8 member group of Cowards!

  3. JCC says:

    Typical racists. A statue dedicated by Frederick Douglas and built with money donated by the hard-earned money of freed slaves, and now its going to be taken down because a bunch of ignorant rich white people know better than black people who lived back then and know the real history. Tell me how black lives matter!

  4. Sandra Deak says:

    What if your turned Lincoln’t hand around? that way instead of looking like he is suppressing the freed man, he would be signaling for him to “rise up, no need to kneel”

  5. SF says:

    What’s next, burning books?

    1. tcg says:

      Only history book!

  6. Doesn’t anyone know that they are taking down a statue that the slaves themselves built in honor of the man that freed them. Another way you are giving in. cowards..

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