Boston’s Emancipation Group Statue To Be Removed From Park Square

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Boston Art Commission (BAC) has voted to remove the Emancipation Group Statue from Park Square.

The statue has been criticized for its representation of an enslaved black man, who is depicted on his knees in front of President Abraham Lincoln.

“As we continue our work to make Boston a more equitable and just city, it’s important that we look at the stories being told by the public art in all of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “After engaging in a public process, it’s clear that residents and visitors to Boston have been uncomfortable with this statue, and its reductive representation of the Black man’s role in the abolitionist movement. I fully support the Boston Art Commission’s decision for removal and thank them for their work.”

This comes after a petition, started by artist Tory Bullock, gained more than 12,000 signatures. The city of Boston said they also received 645 responses to an online survey on the statue.

Bullock wrote that he has "been watching this man on his knees" since he was a kid.

"It's supposed to represent freedom but instead represents us still beneath someone else," Bullock wrote. "I would always ask myself 'If he's free why is he still on his knees?' No kid should have to ask themselves that question anymore."

The vote from the BAC comes with the condition that an art conservator is consulted on how to best remove the statue. A detailed documentation of the statue will also be placed into the BAC archives, including photos, drawings, a 3D scan, as well as the statue's history and how the decision was made to remove it.

A public event will also be created to acknowledge the history of the statue, and temporary signage will be added to better contextualize the statue before it is removed.

A date has not been set for when the statue will be removed. The BAC will continue to discuss the statue at a meeting on July 14.

WBZ NewsRadio's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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