Confused Boston mayor: Get rid of Abe Lincoln, keep slave owner Faneuil

Confused Boston mayor: Get rid of Abe Lincoln, keep slave owner Faneuil
Marty Walsh (Image: YouTube screen grab)

By Faye Higbee

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh appears to be confused. As noted previously, Walsh has expressed a willingness to talk with Tory Bullock, a lifelong Bostonian eager to remove a public statue of Abraham Lincoln, who — as any school kid can tell you — “freed the slaves.” Yet, Walsh has no problem with the name of Faneuil Hall despite the fact it is named for a slave owner. In fact in 2016, Walsh tweeted that Faneuil Hall was the “cradle of liberty.”

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Yet, as NPR reported in 2018, the building, erected in 1741, is “a relic of the slave trade in Boston. Peter Faneuil was a merchant who made money off slavery and owned slaves himself. Slaves were bought and sold right next to what is now Faneuil Hall.”

So why is Walsh willing to countenance the idea of ridding the city of a sculpture of our sixteenth president? Because Lincoln is not the only figure depicted in the work. The other figure is a black man in a loin cloth and shackles, kneeling. He is a slave who is about to taste freedom for the first time. In fact, the sculpture is titled the “Emancipation Memorial.”

Tory Bullock says, “to me, it represents submissiveness. It represents: ‘Know your place, because that’s where you belong.’” What does he recommend in the statue’s place? “Something that represents equality,” done ideally by “some local black artists.”

If Tory Bullock has designs on becoming an art critic, here’s hoping he doesn’t quit his day job. And here’s also hoping that Marty Walsh does quit his.

Cross-posted in altered form at Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children and Conservative Firing Line