Designed and sculpted by Thomas Ball and erected in 1876, the monument depicts Abraham Lincoln holding a copy of his Emancipation Proclamation freeing a male African American slave modeled on Archer Alexander. The ex-slave is depicted on one knee, with one fist clenched, shirtless and shackled at the president's feet.
In 1869, the author Eliot was working with a group to build a statue of Lincoln. Thomas Ball had an acceptable model made, but Eliot's group wanted to have a real freedman pose for it. Eliot gave Ball a photo of Alexander, and he was chosen as the model.
In 1876, the statue was unveiled, with a number of notable people in attendance, including President Ulysses S. Grant, members of his cabinet, Supreme Court justices, other government figures, and Frederick Douglass, another former slave. However, neither Alexander nor Eliot was present.
More than a century and a half after the south’s defeat, a Yankee president is sticking up for defeated Confederates. Those wishing to tear down their statues “hate our history, they hate our values and they hate everything we prize as Americans”, Mr Trump said this week. Not since Woodrow Wilson has a US president been quite so praiseworthy of America’s defeated enemy. The fact that Mr Trump can do so this boldly is a measure of the US civil war’s unfinished business.
This month [President Trump] rejected calls to rename military bases that commemorate civil war enemies, such as Fort Hood, Fort Bragg and Fort Benning. All 10 such bases are in former slave-owning states.
Mr Trump’s dismissal of a proposal backed by US military figures gives even optimists pause. The fact that the US still honours men who fought against the stars and stripes in a war that killed more Americans than in the two world wars combined is a reminder of what is at stake. Yet it works both ways. By making the stakes so explicit, Mr Trump is unwittingly offering America a once-in-a-generation chance to end its myopia on the Confederacy. “We de-Nazified Germany,” said Ms Anderson. “We never de-Confederalised the south.”
In Prague, a statue to Britain’s World War II leader Winston Churchill was covered in graffiti daubed with the words "Black Lives Matter" in solidarity with the anti-racist movement in the United States.
“John Greenleaf Whittier did not enslave people, and indeed, was a leading anti-slavery activist in his time, in addition to being a renowned poet,” Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, archivist at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College, wrote the Whittier Daily News.
Born in 1795, Baldwin moved to Philadelphia from New Jersey at the age of 16 and rose from an apprenticeship at a local jeweler to establish a successful business manufacturing train locomotives. Baldwin argued for the right of Blacks to vote in Pennsylvania during the state’s 1837 Constitutional Convention, and helped establish a school for Black children where he paid teachers’ salaries for years.
Protesters also defaced Philadelphia’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument with graffiti reading “BLM.” That monument’s inscription reads, “All who have labored today in behalf of the Union have wrought for the best interests of the country and the world not only for the present but for all future ages.”
“The irony of vandalizing a monument to those who died to end slavery is lost on the morons who don’t know their history,” Joe Walsh, a member of the Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park said.
"A thousand men signed up just after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, just think about that," said Liz Vizza, executive director of Friends of the Public Garden. "These are men who, if they were captured in the south, would be enslaved or murdered. But this cause was so important to them, they signed up to go fight for their freedom."
The Shaw Memorial captures the likenesses of the first African American volunteer infantry unit – the 54th Massachusetts Regiment – that fought after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Their colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, advocated for the men to join the war because they desperately wanted to fight for freedom. If the soldiers had been captured in battle they could have been enslaved or killed. Their heroic story was recounted in the 1989 Hollywood film Glory.
One of the soldiers, Sgt. William Harvey Carney carried the American flag throughout the battle, never dropping it despite being shot 7 times. Carney was the first black American to win the Congressional Medal of Honor for action.