The ‘Emancipation Memorial’ and the statue to Mary McLeod Bethune will remain enclosed for at least another month and a half, representatives from the National Park Service (NPS) said Friday, July 31.
The two monuments were enclosed in chain-link fencing the afternoon of Thursday, June 25. The notice from the U.S. Department of the Interior the same day said the original Record of Determination called for the fencing will be in place until Friday, July 31, at 5 p.m. but added it could be extended if necessary.
“The National Park Service will issue a new Record of Determination extending the closure through September 16,” wrote an NPS representative in an email to the Hill Rag. “We will continue to reassess the need regularly.”
“The park areas are closed to safeguard the statues from acts of vandalism or other damage during demonstrations,” the representative added.
The notice was not available at press time. This post will be updated with the link to document when it becomes available.
The move to enclose the monuments is part of a wider move to protect NPS monuments. On Wednesday, June 24, the Washington Post reported that the Army had activated around 400 unarmed members of the DC National Guard to “prevent any defacing or destruction” of monuments.
In the June 25th notice to the public announcing that fences would be erected, NPS directly referenced a June 23 demonstration held by The Freedom Neighborhood which indicated plans to tear down the monument today.
The monument has since been the site of multiple events held by groups advocating both for the monument’s removal and for its preservation, and even for President Donald Trump (R) to select Lincoln Park as the site for a ‘National Garden of Heroes’ that he proposed in a July 3rd executive order.