Protesters view the Emancipation Memorial in D.C.'s Lincoln Park as a symbol of oppression. Intended to commemorate President Lincoln's slavery-ending Emancipation Proclamation, the statue depicts a slave who appears to be kneeling in front of President Abraham Lincoln. Critics consider it to be problematic because of how Lincoln is towering over the former slave.
“The meaning is degrading,” according to Marcus Goodwin, a candidate for the District of Columbia Council. “To see my ancestors at the feet of Lincoln — it’s not imagery that inspires African-Americans to see themselves as equal in this society.”
Vandals had plans to topple the monument last week, but police intervened.
But one African-American woman interviewed on ABC 7 News - WJLA has a different interpretation, and it is one worth listening to.
"That man is not kneeling on two knees with his head bowed," she reasoned. "He is in the act of getting up."
"That man is not kneeling on two knees with his head bowed. He is in the act of getting up."— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) June 24, 2020
Listen to this beautiful soul.pic.twitter.com/jfOoO8PfWS
"People tend to think of that figure as being servile, but a second look, and you will see something different perhaps," she said. "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 is looking forward to a future of freedom. People have said, 'Well, he's chained to Mr. Lincoln.' A closer look and you will see that, while there's a shackle in his right hand, he is holding the end of a broken chain, which means he has taken his freedom. He now realizes he's free."
Twitter users welcomed her beautiful message.
The most beautiful thing I have heard out of all of this mess.— H.M. Wentworth (@Wanderl16412796) June 25, 2020
This elegant and eloquent lady is right. This one should be protected.— margaret louise (@somersette) June 25, 2020
Beautiful person, beautiful message.— geopiston (@gcpiston) June 24, 2020
All over the country, rioters are unintentionally exposing how they've lost the point of their campaigns, targeting statues of figures, for instance, who were avid abolitionists. In Philadelphia, people spray painted the statue of Matthias Baldwin, a philanthropist who campaigned for young black children's education.
In Boston, rioters defaced the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial, a monument dedicated to the Civil War's first-ever black regiment. The inspiring story of the soldiers was depicted in the 1989 Oscar-winning film "Glory."