Amid the recent fury of protests, a group in London aimed to deface a statue.
The sculpted target of anti-racism activists: The man who freed the slaves and was murdered for it.
They ornamented the monument with signs and spray paint, as well as the names of black Americans who died during contentious incidents involving police.
- 25-year-old Freddie Gray of Baltimore
- 18-year-old [Michael] Brown of Ferguson, MO
- 12-year-old Tamir Rice of Ohio
- 46-year-old George Floyd of Minneapolis
- 43-year-old Eric Garner of New York
- 32-year-old Philando Castile of Minnesota
- 26-year-old Breonna Taylor of Louisville, Kentucky
One protestor climbed the statue as the crowd cheered:
So who were they disparaging?
Here are a few quotes from Honest Abe, courtesy of AbrahamLincolnOnline:
If as the friends of colonization hope, the present and coming generations of our countrymen shall by any means, succeed in freeing our land from the dangerous presence of slavery; and, at the same time, in restoring a captive people to their long-lost father-land, with bright prospects for the future; and this too, so gradually, that neither races nor individuals shall have suffered by the change, it will indeed be a glorious consummation.
–July 6, 1852
Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man’s nature — opposition to it is in his love of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely, as slavery extension brings them, shocks, and throes, and convulsions must ceaselessly follow. Repeal the Missouri Compromise — repeal all compromises — repeal the declaration of independence — repeal all past history, you still can not repeal human nature. It still will be the abundance of man’s heart, that slavery extension is wrong; and out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth will continue to speak.
–October 16, 1854
I have always hated slavery, I think as much as any Abolitionist.
–July 10, 1858
As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.
–ca. August 1, 1858
Now I confess myself as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery as a moral, social and political evil.
–October 7, 1858
I say now, however, as I have all the while said, that on the territorial question — that is, the question of extending slavery under the national auspices, — I am inflexible. I am for no compromise which assists or permits the extension of the institution on soil owned by the nation.
–February 1, 1861
And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.
–January 1, 1863
It’s a strange place where that man, of all historical figures, is attacked by those fighting, it would seem, for what he promoted — the difference being he clashed with a world opposed to equality’s virtue, whereas we now live in a nation regularly ratifying it.
But this is where we are. Make of it what you will.
I doubt it’s what Lincoln anticipated for 150 years after his death.
I hope for racial unity. I remember it once appeared in sight. At the moment, we seem to have moved further away rather than forward toward peace.
And whatever the reasons, that’s the wrong kind of progress.
There is purity in harmony. In a country at war with itself, we are all made slaves by the corruption of conflict.