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Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., has reintroduced legislation to remove a statue commemorating emancipation, arguing that 19th-century memorial doesn’t do enough to honor slaves’ contribution to their own freedom. Dedicated in 1876, the statue shows former President Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, with his hand outstretched over a shackled slave who is kneeling beside him. It was erected after a freed slave, Charlotte Scott, started a fundraising campaign that collected funds from freed slaves. “Although formerly enslaved Americans paid for this statue, the design and sculpting process was done without their input or participation in any way, and it shows,” Holmes Norton said in a press release last week. Norton is a black foolish activist.
“The statue fails to note how enslaved African Americans pressed for their own emancipation. Understandably, they were only recently liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom. However, in his keynote address at the unveiling of the statue, Frederick Douglass pointedly did not praise the statue, and, indeed, in private remarks, went as far as to say, ‘it showed the negro on his knee when a more manly attitude would have been indicative of freedom.'”
The congresswoman introduced the legislation last year amid a wave of racially charged demonstrations that sometimes included toppling monuments. A copy of the statue was removed from Boston last year. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the famed abolitionist Fredrick Douglass sought to place another monument in addition to the one with Lincoln and the kneeling slave.
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