The Effort to Pull Down Lincoln Statue In D.C. Doesn't Go As They Planned

(AP Photo/Molly Riley)
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ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 2014 AND THEREAFTER – In this Monday, April 6, 2015 photo, Karen Needles holds up a photograph of President Abraham Lincoln at the National Archives in College Park, Md. Three blocks away, 150 years earlier, Lincoln was felled by an assassin’s bullet. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Earlier this week, as we reported, the statue destroyers announced they were planning on pulling down a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C.

But this wasn’t just any Lincoln statue. It’s called the “Freedman’s Memorial” because it commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation and freed slaves paid for it to honor Lincoln. Frederick Douglass even gave the oration at its dedication.

From WJLA:

According to the National Park Service, which maintains the park, an African American woman named Charlotte Scott of Virginia used the first $5 she earned in freedom to kick off a fundraising campaign as a way of paying homage to Lincoln after he was assassinated in 1865. [….]

“The campaign for the Freedmen’s Memorial Monument to Abraham Lincoln, as it was to be known, was not the only effort of the time to build a monument to Lincoln; however, as the only one soliciting contributions exclusively from those who had most directly benefited from Lincoln’s act of emancipation, it had a special appeal,” NPS says.

Listen to Marcia Cole explain the statue.


“I’m here to speak on behalf of the legacy of Charlotte Scott,” said Marcia Cole, a member of the Female RE-Enactors of Distinction (FREED) who portrays Scott. FREED is an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum.

“I understand there’s a big campaign trying to raise money to either take it down or mend it, and I say ‘no’ on behalf of Ms. Charlotte,” she said. “People tend to think of that figure as being servile but on second look you will see something different, perhaps. That man is not kneeling on two knees with his head bowed. He is in the act of getting up. And his head is up, not bowed, because he’s looking forward to a future of freedom.”

She also notes how the shackle is broken and that the man is holding the end of a broken chain. “He has taken his freedom,” she says.

So what happened last night? Were they able to pull it down?

Pro tip? When you’re looking to break federal law, don’t give the authorities a heads up.

Fencing went up around the statue after the threat.


Not too many people showed up, although there was this uninformed woman who needs to have a conversation with Marcia Cole about history.

She may have the opportunity to have conversation.

The group that wants to take it down promised to come back on Friday at 6 p.m. However, a group of historians including Cole will also be there at the same time, giving a “community discussion” on the history of the statue so people understand it.

That’s likely to be an interesting discussion.


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