A man wearing a Black Lives Matter mask announced to a large crowd on Tuesday afternoon that they intend to tear down a statue of former President Abraham Lincoln this week that former slaves purchased as a way to honor Lincoln, who ended slavery.
“We don’t want to tear down the statue today,” the man said. “We don’t want to do it today. We are going to be doing it on Thursday at 7 p.m., okay? Thursday at 7 p.m. … We are going to be out here; we want you to share it; we want you to follow us … we want you to get involved; we want you to donate in any way you can to help us get supplies to get all this done so we can do even bigger events in other areas.”
“We are trying to be at the Supreme Court and do sit-ins there, we try to be at Mitch McConnell’s house,” the man continued as the crowd cheered. “We are going to show up and wake these rich white people up!”
Protester at Emancipation Monument claims that they will be tearing down the monument Thursday at 7 PM.
Also calls for them to show up at Senator Mitch McConnell’s home. pic.twitter.com/LJ8e2f5KRG
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) June 23, 2020
The man later said, “Thursday at 7 PM, we tearing this motherf****r down!”
“Thursday at 7 PM, we tearing this motherfucker down!”
(loud cheering) pic.twitter.com/hLTqlhocZR
— Richie🎥McG🍿 (@RichieMcGinniss) June 24, 2020
The man later claimed without any evidence that “Lincoln did not want to free the slaves. He freed the slaves for political advancement. Not because he wanted to. We freed ourselves.”
ORGANIZER OF THE TEAR DOWN LINCOLN STATUE: “Lincoln did not want to free the slaves. He freed the slaves for political advancement. Not because he wanted to. We freed ourselves…”
Lincoln was assassinated for freeing the slaves and securing total victory over the Confederates. pic.twitter.com/8jf8uT0sck
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 24, 2020
Another video showed a different man shouting: “No one here created this but you do have a choice and an opportunity to destroy it.”
TEAR DOWN EMANCIPATION STATUE ORGANIZER: “No one here created this but you do have a choice and an opportunity to destroy it.”
Doesn’t this apply to literally anything in society? pic.twitter.com/XArJzaBSIb
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) June 24, 2020
President Donald Trump announced earlier in the day that he has authorized federal law enforcement officials to take action against anyone who tries to destroy statues on federal property.
“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent,” Trump tweeted. “This action is taken effective immediately, but may also be used retroactively for destruction or vandalism already caused. There will be no exceptions!”
The Emancipation Memorial shows Lincoln standing over a slave who is rising up on his knees and is holding a broken chain in his hand, signifying that the bonds of slavery have been broken.
The statue, erected on April 14, 1876, stands in Lincoln Park and built with “contributions from hundreds of former slaves who wanted to pay tribute to the man who had proclaimed their freedom in 1863,” The Washington Post reported. “Just after Lincoln’s death, the [Western Sanitary Commission, which aided Civil War victims] had received an intriguing request from a former slave, who sent the commission $5 — her first earnings as a free woman — to help build a monument to Lincoln, “the best friend the colored people ever had.” The commission began a fund-raising campaign and invited former slaves to contribute.”
Famed orator and author Frederick Douglass spoke at the unveiling of the memorial in Washington, D.C.
“The sentiment that brings us here to-day is one of the noblest that can stir and thrill the human heart,” Douglass said. “It has crowned and made glorious the high places of all civilized nations with the grandest and most enduring works of art, designed to illustrate the characters and perpetuate the memories of great public men. It is the sentiment which from year to year adorns with fragrant and beautiful flowers the graves of our loyal, brave, and patriotic soldiers who fell in defence of the Union and liberty. It is the sentiment of gratitude and appreciation, which often, in presence of many who hear me, has filled yonder heights of Arlington with the eloquence of eulogy and the sublime enthusiasm of poetry and song; a sentiment which can never die while the Republic lives.”
Douglass later added, “We, the colored people, newly emancipated and rejoicing in our blood-bought freedom, near the close of the first century in the life of this Republic, have now and here unveiled, set apart, and dedicated a monument of enduring granite and bronze, in every line, feature, and figure of which the men of this generation may read, and those of after-coming generations may read, something of the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln, the first martyr President of the United States.”
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