The Mary McLeod Bethune and ‘Emancipation’ Monuments are no longer behind bars.
The National Park Service (NPS) began removing the fencing surrounding the two statues the morning of Thursday, Sept. 17.
The two monuments were enclosed in chain-link fencing the afternoon of Thursday, June 25. The original Record of Determination issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior the same day said called for the fencing will be in place until Friday, July 31, at 5 p.m. but that was extended until Wednesday, Sept. 16.
An NPS representative had previously said the park areas were closed to safeguard the statues from acts of vandalism or other damage during demonstrations. When the fence came down, a representative told the Hill Rag that NPS staff and US Park Police will continue to monitor the park and protect its resources.
“We will continue to provide historical context and interpretation for all NPS sites and memorials in order to reflect a fuller view of past events and the values under which they occurred,” the NPS representative continued. “We continue to discuss how on-site information could further explain and provide context for the memorial.”
Over the summer, the ‘Emancipation’ monument was 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.
Sept. 18: This story has been updated to include comments from NPS.