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  • “What stands out to me in this piece is how the slaves kneeling underneath Lincoln not equal but as a servant. When he is supposed to be freeing a slave, why isn’t Lincoln looking him in the eye like a man? Why does the slave not look happier? Is it because he knows racism will be there forever?” – Duane McKaa Jr, The Odyssey Project
  • “I am reminded every single day that I am less than a white person, whether I want to admit it or not.” – PBS News
  • “This statue represents the oppression of Black people.”  – PBS News
  • “I see an African American male figure on one knee, and he’s in the process of rising. His head was up. He was looking forward to a life of freedom. And that’s what I saw.” Marcia Cole, descendant of the freed slave who started the memorial fund


  • “What I want to see is a reasoned process that allows us to discuss, that allows us to bring history before we make decisions of pulling things down. I think that, yes, we could take that statue down. We could replace it with a statue that just talks about the enslaved. And I think what we’d do is, while, on the one hand, we enrich our understanding, on the other hand, I think we lose the opportunity to help people understand more about Lincoln and who he was and what he did.”  – Lonnie Bunch, Secretary Smithsonian Museum
  • “To erect a monument in public space takes power and authority. The monuments themselves defend that power and justify that authority. Because these heroes were monumentalized — made of “imperishable” materials so as to become “timeless” in their seats of honor — their legacy continues to dominate us”  – Kirk Savage, Professor of History of Art & Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh