Statues of President Abraham Lincoln in Chicago were vandalized twice in less than two months. The Chicago Tribune reports the phrases “COLONIZER” and “LAND BACK” were painted on the statue of a young Abraham Lincoln in Senn Park in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood on Thanksgiving. The monument also has “Dakota 38” engraved on it, a reference to the Dakota Sioux members who were put to death by Lincoln after the Dakota War of 1862.
Lincoln reportedly commuted the sentences of 264 Dakota fighters but ordered 38 others to be hanged in Minnesota, the largest group execution in U.S. history. However, the statue has resided in the open-air park since 1997. It was created by Charles Keck, a sculptor who also created memorials for former presidents Andrew Jackson and George Washington.
On October 11, a similar statement was scribbled onto a different statue of the 16th president in Lincoln Park, approximately six miles from Senn Park. Vandals wrote “dethrone the colonizers,” “land back!” and “avenge the Dakota 38” on the monument and are still at large. Additionally, they wrote, “tear down the myth of Lincoln the great liberator,” and the names of all 38 Dakota men.
The Lincoln Park statue, “Abraham Lincoln: The Man,” was created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1887, 22 years after Lincoln’s passing. It is regarded as one of the most important representations of the president from the 19th century.
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