Sections

Emancipation desecration! Prospect Park’s historic Lincoln statue vandalized

Tag, you’re it: The statue of Abraham Lincoln in Prospect Park was tagged by a vandal last week.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

It’s penny dreadful!

A vandal defaced the 140-year-old bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln at Prospect Park last week, spray-painting over the Emancipation Proclamation and its inscription that typically reads “Shall be forever free.”

The barely comprehensible scrawl itself doesn’t appear to be a political statement, but the fact that the tagger chose to attack the Liberator is still offensive to park-goers, according to one local resident.

“It’s a smack in the face to the people it means something to,” said Prospect-Lefferts Gardens resident Jermaine Smith, who saw the statue on Thursday. “Especially that president. Every president did something, but he did a lot for blacks.”

One local history buff says he first spotted the offending inscription on election day, Nov. 8, and took the tag as a sign of things to come.

“I said, ‘oh s---’ and I took it as a bad omen,” said Park Sloper Richard Kessler, a longtime fan of the statue.

The graffiti was still sullying Lincoln’s famed executive order as of Nov. 17, but a spokeswoman from steward group the Prospect Park Alliance said it would immediately dispatch workers to scrub it clean after this paper brought the marred model to its attention.

This isn’t the bronze bust’s first brush with vandalism — the whole park fell into disrepair during the dark days of the 1970s and ’80s, and Honest Abe ended up covered with graffiti, while thieves swiped the original the decorative eagles, shields, and scrolls located on the statue’s base, according to the city’s Parks Department.

The idol was the first statue of Lincoln erected after his assassination. It originally stood in Grand Army Plaza in 1869, but officials moved it deep inside Prospect Park three decades later, to Concert Grove on the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens side of the meadow.

The city claimed it was so the 16th President would not be dwarfed by Plaza’s towering Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, although Kessler has long believed it was an act of censorship because leaders at the time didn’t like Lincoln’s anti-slavery stance.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Posted 12:00 am, November 18, 2016
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Reader from Brooklyn says:
not a single comment? yet if someone scribbles 'Trump' in chalk everyone gets butt-hurt and the FBI gets involved...
Nov. 23, 2016, 6:49 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!