A conservative group held a rally in Lincoln Park Tuesday, July 14 in support of the preservation of the Emancipation Memorial. Urban CURE (Center for Urban Renewal and Education), an organization founded by syndicated columnist and political activist Star Parker to address social issues from a Christian conservative perspective, organized the event.
At the ‘Emancipation Celebration’, Parker argued that the statue should not only remain as-is in Lincoln Park, it should also be at the center of The National Garden of American Heroes, a monument outlined in a July 3 Executive Order by President Donald Trump.
“This Freedman’s Statue should not only remain standing in Lincoln Park,” Parker said, referring to the monument by the name used at the time of its dedication, “but this is the sacred location where President Trump should place the new Memorial Park he envisions to honor great American heroes who worked tirelessly to unify the races, and be named Unity Park.”
Urban CURE is collecting signatures for a petition to that effect which the group intends to present to Congress in order to illustrate the opposition to the removal of the statue.
The statue, now surrounded by chain link fencing, has recently become the site of frequent demonstrations by different groups. Some, such as candidate for At-Large Council Marcus Goodwin, have called for the statue to be removed through legal means, with his petition accumulating more than 8,801 signatures by July 14. Others, including young activist and founder of The Freedom Neighborhood, Glenn Foster have called for it to be removed by any means necessary.
“This statue right here embodies the white supremacy and the disempowerment of black people that is forced upon us by white people,” said Foster at a June 23 protest held at the monument. “That is why we are tearing this statue down.”
Earlier in July, a group of historians held an event to draw attention to the history of the statue. Frederick Douglass reenactor Nathan Richardson argued for the preservation of the statue with youth attending a Moechella event held the same day.
In late June, DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) said she would introduce a bill to move the statue to a museum. “The designers of the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park in DC didn’t take into account the views of African Americans. It shows,” she wrote in a tweet announcing the legislation. “Blacks too fought to end enslavement.”
The designers of the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park in DC didn’t take into account the views of African Americans. It shows. Blacks too fought to end enslavement. That’s why I’m introducing a bill to move this statue to a museum. pic.twitter.com/A0MOnISH1N
— Eleanor Holmes Norton (@EleanorNorton) June 23, 2020
The Urban CORE rally took place on the same day as the Boston Art Commission met for a second time after they voted to remove the ‘Emancipation Group,’ a duplicate of the Lincoln Park statue placed in Boston Park Square in 1879.
Speaking at the event, pro-life activist and Radiance Foundation Founder Ryan Bomberger said that the city of Boston was trying “purge history,” saying that tearing down statues “is about suppressing and controlling speech, whether historical or present.”
Referencing Douglass, Bomberger said “slavery cannot tolerate free speech, amen, but neither can progressivism, neither can LGBTQ activism, neither can pro-abortion feminism, neither can a Marxist Black Lives Matter movement.”
“Instead of tearing down statues, our culture needs to build up Biblical statutes, like loving one another and forgiving one another, and understanding that from one blood, God created us all,” he added.
Parker said that the goal of the campaign is to gather 10,000 signatures indicating opposition to removal of the statue and present it to Congressional Republicans to prevent Norton’s bill from moving through Congress. After that, Parker said the group will make their case to the White House for locating the National Garden in Lincoln Park.
The event was broadcast live on YouTube.