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AMOD: Let's Talk Statues of Lincoln and Meaningless Executive Orders! The Emancipation Statue has been Controversial for 144 years!!!

Controversial Content
Added: Sunday, June 28th 2020 at 9:16am by AMODPOVW
Category: News & Issues
Related Tags: slavery


I grew up within walking distance of Lincoln (Emancipation) Park.  As children we used to ride our bikes up in that direction and use it as a turnaround point, as my parents did not want us crossing into Northeast Washington, DC.  For many years while serving in the Military District of Washington, I would often jog through Lincoln Park on the way to the Capital....sometimes using the Park as a turnaround point as opposed to the Capital.

The Park is located between 11th and 13th Streets on East Capital Street on the Southeast side with the Park being the dividing line between the Northeast and Southeast sections of the City!  It is roughly a two block by two block Public Park...with the Emancipation Statue of Lincoln standing right in the middle.

As a child, truth be told, I paid very little attention to this particular statue.  No one addressed it in school and you heard none of your elders reference it with any reverence.  I had visited the Lincoln Memorial downtown....so this statue was like so many in DC, just another of those things as far as I was concerned.  But in 1974 my awareness of the Emancipation Statue was lifted just a little by the decision to place in the same Park not far away from Lincoln a statue of Mary Mcleod Bethune. 

I was teaching African American History at the time...so this decision was of special interest to me....and it was then I realized that the Lincoln (Emancipation) Statue was rather controversial in the Black Community.  The Bethune Memorial at that particular location was an attempt to send a message...a not so subtle message....that we can lift our own.   I will not go into Mary Mcleod Bethune at this time, but google her and you will understand what I am saying.

Both statues...that of Lincoln and of Bethune were paid for by Black People.  The difference in the two was that the Blacks who contributed to the Bethune Statue were able to select the Sculptor (Robert Berks).  They had influence over the design and the message.  The blacks who paid for the Lincoln Statue did not have that luxuary.  The Lincoln Statue was dedicated in 1876 and the Sculptor was Thomas Ball.  It was dedicated on the 11th Anniversary of the death of Lincoln and Frederick Douglas was selected to be the Keynote Speaker!

Ever since that day more than 144 years ago when Frederick Douglas spoke, it was clear that Black folks were not pleased with the Emancipation Statue.  Just take a few lines from Douglas's speech:

“Truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory,” Douglass said, “Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man.”

“He was preeminently the white man’s president, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men,” Douglass said, according to the speech stored at the Library of Congress. “He was ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone, and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country.”

I will stop right there!  This was Frederick Douglas the day the Statue was dedicated...basically saying to all that would listen, that the Statue was not a true portrait of the relationship that Lincoln had with Negro's, but rather a true representation of how Lincoln felt about Slaves....and the freedmen who paid for that Statue did not get their money's worth!

This pass week I went back to my old neighborhood to get a first hand look at what the Media was telling me was a great disturbance surrounding the Lincoln Statue.  The first thing I noticed was that things had changed greatly.  The Black Middle Class Neighborhood that I remembered was now a Majority White Upper Class Neighborhood.  I stopped by and talked with one of my childhood friends "Chubby Hostin"...his family is one of the last to still live in the same house.  Chubby told me that his father had told them regardless of what happened...never sell that house!  We talked about property values and he told me that the house my Grandmother purchased for $15,000 in 1954, probably went for $630,000 in 2013 and was now probably worth $909,000!  It was not the same old neighborhood anymore.

I then went up to Lincoln Park to see what all the Media fuss was about.  I arrived slightly before the OAN Reporter was chased from the Park by several Demonstrators.  But I feel comfortable in repeating what I saw.  The Park was filled with people Sun Bathing and Walking their Dogs.  There were two US ParK Policeman sitting on their Motorcycles and watching two groups of people....one older and one younger....debating with "Bull Horns" the virtues of either keeping the Statue or removing it.  The Older Speakers were attempting to educate the younger crowd on the history of the statue and what was the proper procedure for getting the statue removed.  The younger group wanted to focus on the symbolism and the need for immediate action.  The two groups totaled maybe 25 or 30 people and because both Statues in the Park had fences erected around them there was no danger that the Protestors would topple them.  Surprisingly there waslittleattention being paid to the Bethune Statue.  

It has been reported that a young man by the name of Marcus Goodwin who is running for an At-Large City Council seat and lives in Ward 4....not the Lincoln Park area started this Statue Controversy.  Marcus has a BA from U of Penn and a MDes from Harvard.  Some people believe he raised the issue as a way to raise his profile in the East of the River part of DC, but has since lost control of the narrative.  The President of the United States has introduced himself into the controvesy for some god forsaken unknown reason.  It was falsely reported by one outlet that the President had called up the National Guard to defend this and other Statues in the city....again except for the two Park Policeman...there was no other security present and none was needed.  During the incident that occured later....back up was called in order to protect the OAN Reporter...but again the crowd from all indications did not grow beyond the size that was there earlier.

This is a tempest in a teapot.....the statue is not beloved and has been controversial for over a century.  The proper place to discuss its removal is the City Council of Washington DC.  Even though the Status is on Federal land....President Trump should not attempt to impose his will on the people who live in that area.  Local residents appear today as they did when I was young, completely indifferent to the Statue.  

There are no raving mobs wanting to take down the Statue of Lincoln...there are people who feel that we need to continue the discussion of Lincoln and his opinions about Slaves and Slavery.  This is a complex discussion and requires people to have an open mind when it occurs....but as it relates to this particular statue.....even some of the people who paid for it, did not want it!  The President should consider their feelings, the documentation is available in the Library of Congress!



User Comments

Once again I am going off-topic! :O)

What do you think about DC becoming a State? And I am not sure but I read that legally (maybe in the Constitution?) it can't. As you are my go to source about DC thought I would ask!

Martin I have never been a fan of DC becoming a State!!  Growing up there and living near there now....I understand the things that would make one want to have that title...I can also understand the complexity of not having the title!

I will give you a brief explanation...as I was just informed by you know who that I should do my next Post on that subject and be more detailed!{#basic-laugh.gif} (she is real bossy today)

It is in the Constitution...and I will attempt to find it.  To make DC a State will require something aken to a Constitutional Amendment anyway.  There are a few other ways to resolve the things wrong with governance here without going to the extremes.

By the way...getting that vote in the House for the first time says alot about the cities racial makeup todday....only 48% Black...from a one time high of over 78% in the mid-90"s! {#basic-laugh.gif}  IN short, the tax base has changed!

You have the best boss!!!{#apploud.gif}{#basic-cool.gif}

It seems that somehow the  dialogue has been conflated to the Lincoln Monument, which based on your information is wrong.  There are pictures on the net that purport to be "desecration" of the Lincoln Monument and that is what the uproar is all about.

There are, apparently, some graffetti on some fences or plagues, but not specifically the monument per the reports that I  have gotten.  

As usual, whenever trump speaks, it is always with misinformation thrown in, and based on eliciting fear and division in the citizenry.  So far, that behavior has manage to do immense damage to the nation, and continues to do more.  Meanwhile, REAL issues get ignored.

SFLT there were a bunch of doctored photo's on the Internet and most were eventually taken down!

There were two real instances and both were done during the first night of Protest here in DC.  One was red and done on one of the Columns in the Memorial...It said "Fu** Law" and the other was down near the steps and it said, "Y'all not tired yet?"  If you see these two photo's they are real!

But again they were the first night....and truth be told, I am still confused to this day how it happened.   I have never known for any of those statues not to have some type of roaming Police Patrol during the night time.

Other monuments...not so much....but there has always been a Park Police standing Guard Point near the Lincoln Memorial.  During the Government shut down there was security there....and that night I am shocked that the Park Police did not call in another shift!

But yes people have confused completely the different statues and the President has done nothing to clarify the issue because he see it as a politcal winner!{#basic-frown.gif}

Nothing like having a "leader" that not only allows confusion but encourages it, and profits from it.

I've never seen any of those statues but I did see the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. and I thought it was quite impressive. I've been worried that some ignorant Socialist wannabe will try to deface it or cover it with a lot of dirty slogans and/or red paint. 

Amala the first night of the protest someone did get near the statue and spray a column with red paint!  They also wrote something near the steps that lead up to the Memorial.  

I have been confused at how they got that close because to my knowledge there has always been a Park Police Station there.  Something went wrong that first night...but since then that station has been manned!

If they ever catch who did it I hope they give them a bucket of turpentine and make them scrub every inch of that paint off with a toothbrush and don't release them until every inch of the monument is paint free. 

On this one we totally agree!{#basic-laugh.gif}

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