“When I look at that statue, I remember my freedom, and my release is only dictated by the whites’ terms,” said Glenn Foster, 20, who formed The Freedom Neighborhood, a local group that has organized efforts to topple the monument. . “We are trying to let the government know that we are not going to wait any longer for our freedom to happen.”
Word spread quickly of the group’s intentions, and on Friday, supporters of the statue appeared alongside those prepared to overthrow it, as well as those who wanted to wait for the legal process to unfold.
“Things have gone from zero to 100 in a matter of days,” said Cole, who often portrays Charlotte Scott, the African-American woman who raised funds for the memorial after the Lincoln assassination, at performances and other events hosted by Un group associated with the African American Civil War Museum. Scott is remembered on a plaque below the monument.
But tensions were not limited to the streets of Washington. Trump, speaking on a Fox News forum on Thursday, criticized protesters who want to tear down the monument, calling them “troublemakers” and “bad people.”
“I can see the controversy, but I can also see the beauty in it,” Trump said of the monument.
“I can understand certain things that are being removed,” he added. “But we have to go through a process, legally.”
The monument is located in Lincoln Park, which is federal land under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. So while mayors and governors across the country have responded to calls by local protesters by removing statues and monuments seen as racist, the mayor of Washington does not have that authority.