Protesters Announce Plan to Take Down Emancipation Statue as DC Delegate Pushes for Removal

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
June 24, 2020Updated: June 24, 2020

Protesters who gathered Tuesday night in Washington, D.C., said they plan to reconvene on Thursday to rip down the Emancipation Statue.

“Thursday at 7 p.m., we tearing this [expletive] down!” an organizer said to cheers in footage captured by Richie McGinniss, a Daily Caller video director.

“It tells me that this white man is superior and that he’s granting permission,” one protester told WUSA-9 when asked what he thinks when he looks at the statue.

At the same protest, several people tried convincing the group not to target the statue. “The Germans erased their history,” one told those assembled, who shouted her down.

The statue, also known as the Emancipation Memorial or the the Freedmen’s Monument, was put into place in 1876 to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln ending slavery.

It shows a standing Lincoln motioning to a figure portraying a freed slave who is kneeling beside him.

Frederick Douglass, a black scholar who spoke at the unveiling ceremony, alternated between praise and criticism of Lincoln.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters gather at Lincoln Park to demand the Emancipation Memorial be taken down in Washington on June 23, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“We have gone a good work for our race today. In doing honor to the memory of our friend and liberator, we have been doing highest honors to ourselves and those who come after us; we have been fastening ourselves to a name and fame imperishable and immortal; we have also been defending ourselves from a blighting scandal,” Douglass told those assembled.

“When not it shall be said that the colored man is soulless, that he has no appreciation of benefits or benefactors; when the foul reproach of ingratitude is hurled at us, and it is attempted to scourge us beyond the range of human brotherhood, we may calmly point to the monument we have this day erected to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.”

Fundraising for the statue was kicked off by Charlotte Scott, a black Virginia woman who used her first $5 earned in freedom, according to the National Park Service. The money for the statue came solely from freed slaves.

In a social media post advertising the Tuesday event, the group behind the protest, Freedom Neighborhood, wrote: “To achieve true justice, we are not working with the police, nor will we seek any relationship with them. In order to create change, we will do so by any means necessary. If you want a revolution, it won’t happen by being peaceful.”

The statue “embodies the racial undertones of black people being inferior to white people,” the group claimed.

The push to remove the statue came just hours after President Donald Trump announced an executive order authorizing the federal government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys statues or monuments.

The protests Tuesday devolved into violence. The group attacked a number of people, including several journalists, and burned a large American flag in the newly named Black Lives Matter Plaza. Protesters also blocked traffic for a period of time on city streets.

Epoch Times Photo
Police watch on as protesters gather at Lincoln Park to demand the Emancipation Memorial be taken down in Washington on June 23, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Delegate Pushes for Removal

While at least one group works to topple the statue, a District of Columbia congressional delegate said she’s introducing legislation to remove the memorial.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, said the statue is “problematic,” adding in a statement: “The statue fails to note in any way how enslaved African Americans pushed for their own emancipation.”

Because the memorial is on National Park Service land, Norton plans to work with the service to see if it has the authority to remove the statue without an act of Congress. If so, Norton will push the service to remove the statue without a bill.

Norton wants the statue moved to a museum.

The service didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Vandals have toppled or defaced statues across the nation in recent weeks, quickly moving from statues portraying Confederate soldiers to ones showing former Presidents like Andrew Jackson, George Washington, and Ulysses S. Grant.

Some vandals tried toppling a statue of Jackson near the White House Monday but were stopped by U.S. Park Police officers, who made at least two arrests.

Norton also this week said she’s introducing a bill to remove the Jackson statue.