The dismantling of controversial statues and monuments in the city of Boston is a mounting subject in the ongoing push for racial justice in the nation.
Calls to take down a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Boston’s Park Square, between the Park Plaza and the Transportation Building, are growing. The statue of President Lincoln, the Great Empancipator, is depicted with a slave on his knees.
A petition to remove the statue was spearheaded by an African American man from Boston named Tory Bullock who says he’s been seeing the statue since he was a kid.
“It says that it’s a statue that’s supposed to represent freedom. But, to me, it represents submissiveness,” Bullock said. “It represents: ‘Know your place, because that’s where you belong.'”
Bullock says his petition has more than 7,000 signatures and the attention of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who Bullock posted is willing to talk about removing it.
“This is a great opportunity to get some local black artists involved in the creation of (a new) statue, to come up with something new that represents equality,” Bullock said. “Right now, I have the momentum and leverage with everything going on in the world, that we can actually make a difference here.”
A spokesperson for City Hall said the mayor was in favor of removing the statue and “willing to engage in a dialogue with the community about its future in Boston.”
Walsh’s office said the mayor was interested in potentially recommissioning the statue into one that recognizes equality. “Since the statue is a memorial that falls under the Arts Commission, we are actively looking into what those processes would entail,” the statement said.
Bullock says he has been thinking of this as the Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded last week in Columbus Park.
Crews removed the vandalized Christopher Columbus statue in the city’s North End Thursday as city leaders decide what to do with the controversial monument.
With special tools, crews detached the damaged statue from its base. The 900 pounds of marble was lifted off the pedestal, where it has stood since 1979.
The head of the monument was found on the ground Tuesday night. The act of vandalism is believed to target Columbus. The historical figure credited with discovering the Americas has become a symbol of racism over his treatment and colonization of Native Americans.
Walsh said crews would put the statue in storage, as leaders discuss its “historic meaning.”
“This particular statue has been subject of repeated vandalism here in Boston. Given the conversations that we are certainly having right now in our city of Boston and throughout the country, we are going to take time to assess the historic meaning of the statue,” Walsh said.
But some feel the Columbus statue should not be removed.
“History is important for us, for our kids, for our grandchildren. The next generation, they will know why we are here and where we came from. It’s very important,” said Maria Carella, of Boston.
A rally planned by the Italian American Alliance for Sunday afternoon was canceled after group members said Walsh would meet with leaders of the alliance.