The Boston Art Commission last night unanimously voted to remove the Emancipation Group statue in Park Square, according to multiple media reports.
CBS in Boston reported that Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement, “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.
“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.”
In June, an online petition received more than 10,000 signatures of people supporting the removal of the statue that shows President Abraham Lincoln standing over a freed slave on his knees.
According to boston.com, the statue has been in the park near Boston Common since 1879. “It’s a copy of an identical monument that was erected in Washington, D.C., three years earlier. The copy was installed in Boston because the city was home to the statue’s white creator, Thomas Ball.”
“Although the monument was created to celebrate the freeing of slaves in America, and the funds for the original memorial were raised by freed slaves, its design disturbed many who objected to the optics of a Black man kneeling before Lincoln.
The statue’s original version in D.C. faced similar criticism.”
The commission is expected to address the details for the removal at its meeting on July 14.
The statue – and others across the country – has come under increased criticism since the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the subsequent protests about racial injustice and police brutality. Other statues across the nation have been vandalized and/or taken down.