Dec. 29 (UPI) — Boston metropolis employees on Tuesday eliminated a controversial statue of former President Abraham Lincoln standing earlier than a kneeling freed slave which has stood downtown for greater than 140 years.

The Boston Artwork Fee voted in June to relocate The Emancipation Group statue, after critics described it as “demeaning” towards previously enslaved Black folks.

“Over the course of two public hearings that allowed lots of of residents to specific their emotions, and after taking into consideration the petition from native artist Tory Bullock that gained greater than 12,000 signatures to take away the statue, we’re happy to have taken it down this morning,” a consultant for Mayor Marty Walsh advised Boston.com.

Non secular leaders protested the sculpture, often known as Freedman’s Memorial, amid a wave of anti-racism demonstrations that overtook the nation over the summer time. Different cities took comparable actions to take away statues and memorials honoring Accomplice leaders and troopers.

As a part of the choice to take away the statue from Park Sq., the artwork fee required that the piece be documented by images, drawing and a 3D scan in addition to by a written historical past earlier than it was positioned in short-term storage. There can even be a public occasion and everlasting signage to teach the general public on the statue’s historical past.

The fee additionally will decide the place to reinstall the statue in a publicly accessible location together with info contextualizing its historical past.

The statue, a duplicate of 1 that stands in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., was erected in 1879. It was designed by Boston artist Thomas Ball and paid for by donations made by the previously enslaved.

It options an upright Lincoln holding a replica of the Emancipation Proclamation standing over a kneeling, almost nude freed slave with damaged shackles on his wrists.

Critics have taken situation with the imagery of a totally clothed White man looming over a barely clothed Black man crouching on the bottom — a visible depiction of the implied energy dynamics between the 2 races.

“It is demeaning, with the Black man on his knees, with Lincoln’s hand over his head — and what bothered me most once I checked out it the opposite day was, the Black man on his knees nonetheless has the chains on his arms,” the Rev. Miniard Culpepper, pastor at Nice Hill Missionary Baptist Church, stated.