Boston mayor reportedly open to taking down 140-year-old statue of Abraham Lincoln

The statue's original construction was funded by freed slaves.

Published: June 16, 2020 11:03am

Updated: June 16, 2020 11:28pm

A statue of Abraham Lincoln that has stood in Boston since 1879 is reportedly in the crosshairs of the city's mayor, yet another monument in danger of coming down as an anti-statue zeitgeist sweeps the country. 

The Emancipation Memorial was originally erected in Washington, D.C., in 1876. The National Park Service says that funds to build it were collected "solely from freed slaves (primarily from African American Union veterans)." A copy of the statue was donated to Boston three years later. 

Yet activists are now calling for its removal, citing what they say are its racist optics: It depicts Lincoln standing over a kneeling, freed black slave.

Mayor Marty Walsh, meanwhile, is allegedly sympathetic to those demands. 

Walsh "is in favor of removing the statue," the Boston Globe reported this week, and he is "willing to engage in a dialogue about its future in Boston." 

The mayor "is interested in potentially recommissioning the statue into one that recognizes equality," his office told the paper. 

A petition in favor of removing the statue, started by Boston resident Tory Bullock, had garnered over 9,000 signatures by Tuesday morning.

The statue is "supposed to represent freedom but instead represents us still beneath someone else," Bullock wrote on the petition. "I would always ask myself 'If he's free why is he still on his knees?' No kid should have to ask themselves that question anymore."

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