The Boston Arts Commission unanimously voted Tuesday night to remove a public monument representing President Abraham Lincoln standing in front of a freed slave.
The Emancipation Memorial in Park Square, a replica of the original situation in Washington, DC, will be removed with an art conservator "to document, recommend how the bronze statue is removed, oversee its removal and placement in temporary storage." . read.
"As we continue our work to make Boston a more equitable and just city, it is important that we see the stories that public art tells in all of our neighborhoods," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who supported the removal of the statue. in a sentence.
Opponents of the statue have voiced criticism since its installation in 1879, Walsh said. They are not arguing against Lincoln, but rather the representation of the statue of a freed slave, which they described as the result of the toxic vision of slavers and even abolitionists.
Originally designed and sculpted by Massachusetts native Thomas Ball, the controversial statue depicts Lincoln with one hand raised above a kneeling, shirtless man with broken shackles on his wrists.
"After participating in a public process, it is clear that Boston residents and visitors have been uncomfortable with this statue and its reductive portrayal of the role of the black man in the abolitionist movement," Walsh wrote.
The vote came in response to an online petition that collected more than 12,000 signatures calling for the statue to be removed amid nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police.
A date for the removal of the statue has not yet been set.