Protesters amassed near the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., on Friday in an effort to have the statue torn down. Hostilities flared during the protest, and a reporter had to be escorted out of the park after the mob harassed him.
Protesters gathered in Lincoln Park to demand the Emancipation Memorial be removed, but one black man stood up to the crowd and attempted to educate them about the historic statue.
Don Folden, a tour guide in D.C., gave a history lesson on the statue that shows Abraham Lincoln freeing a slave.
“A lot of people out here are talking about tearing down something that they don’t even know the history of,” Folden told the protesters assembled outside the fence protecting the statue. “Y’all don’t even know the history of this statue, but you want to tear it down because you are offended.”
However, Folden’s message did not resonate with much of the crowd. A man with a microphone declared: “We are gonna tear that motherf***er down!”
(Content Warning: The following video contains explicit language):
One woman angrily screamed at Folden for defending the Emancipation Memorial, also known as the Freedman’s Memorial. “We gonna get it, one way or another,” she yelled.
Folden asked the woman about the history of the statue, and asked who paid for the memorial that was dedicated in 1876. The bronze statue was “built almost entirely with funds donated by former slaves,” according to Washington.org. On the 11th anniversary of Lincoln’s death, famed abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass delivered the keynote address to President Ulysses S. Grant at the monument.
Tensions increased as protesters got in the faces of reporters covering the demonstration. The Daily Caller’s Vincent Shkreli was harassed during the protest.
One America News Network host Jack Posobiec was also at the protest of the statue, and he had to be escorted out of the park after hostilities heightened. Folden attempted to stop the crowd from attacking Posobiec.
The security detail for Fox News’ White House correspondent Kevin Corke escorted the OANN host out of the park after water was thrown at him and someone attempted to steal his cell phone. Washington, D.C., police had to separate Posobiec from the crowd.
Earlier in the week, a black pastor tried to promote unity at the Emancipation Memorial.
Others defended the Emancipation Memorial, including Howard University professor Carolivia Herron and Marcia Cole, a member of the Female RE-Enactors of Distinction, which is an auxiliary organization of the African American Civil War Museum.
“People tend to think of that figure as being servile but on second look you will see something different, perhaps,” Cole explained. “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.”
“Things change. Our perceptions of how things should be presented change,” Herron stated. “There’s an intelligent, acceptable, proud way to interpret this statue. We need not be ashamed of what we came from.”
Last week, rioters ripped down a nearly 100-year-old statue of George Washington. Vandals also tore down statues dedicated to Ulysses S. Grant, Francis Scott Key, and an 18th-century Spanish priest who was canonized as a saint.