Efforts to remove U.S. statues vs. lawmakers opposed heads for face-off over Lincoln statue in D.C.

Protesters have for days said they will forceable remove the statue, in the District's Capitol Hill neighborhood

Last Updated:
June 26, 2020 - 10:59pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The surge of protesters defacing and removing historical statues and lawmakers trying to protect them and other government property is headed for a potential showdown Friday night over a statue of Abraham Lincoln in the nation’s capital. 

Federal and District of Columbia law enforcement teams have for days patrolled the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park, in the district’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, as protesters vow to remove the statue.

President Trump has been among the most vocal about the removal of the statues, including one of Christopher Columbus being torn down. He vowed earlier this week to sign an executive order to strengthen existing law that will put offenders in prison for 10 years. And he is purportedly using U.S. marshals to protect federal property.

However, he got some perhaps unexpected support Thursday from D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser, a Democrat, who weeks earlier bristled at Trump activating National Guard units from states to help when protests in the district neared chaos. 

She said the district should debate the fates of the statues and “not have a mob decide they want to pull it down.” 

Also on Thursday, about a half a dozen Park Police stood guard around the Lincoln monument, depicting Abe Lincoln with a slave kneeling beneath him. The demonstrations were peaceful, but The Daily Caller recorded protesters announcing they were going to remove the statue by force.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district’s non-voting representative in Congress, has suggested that the statue be placed in a museum. 

“Although formerly enslaved Americans paid for this statue to be built in 1876, the design and sculpting process was done without their input, and it shows,” Norton said in a statement. “The statue fails to note in any way how enslaved African Americans pushed for their own emancipation.”

Others disagree and believe the statue is an important part in African-American history. According to Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, a chairwoman of the history department at Harvard University, “even though the image is problematic, it’s part of our history that African Americans themselves paid for this monument and it was their way of saying slavery had ended.”

 

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