The Boston Art Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to remove a statue commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery.
The statue, erected in 1879, was the focus of criticism in the wake of protests after the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Some protests had turned violent and targeted statues and monuments considered racist.
The statue is called Emancipation Memorial in Park Square and includes a slave based on the historical figure Archer Alexander who helped the Union army, escaped slavery and was later captured by fugitive slave hunters. The statue is a replica of the Washington, D.C., statue designed by sculptor Thomas Ball in 1876.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued a statement of support for the decision.
“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,” Walsh said.
“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.”
One petition garnered more than 12,000 signatures to remove the statue.
The inscription on the statue reads, “A race set free/ and the country at peace / Lincoln / Rests from his labors.”
Here’s a local news report about the statue vote:
Boston To Remove Emancipation Group State