Taking another look at the Emancipation Monument

On November 3, 2021, an excellent new video was released that began….”Where you stand depends on what you see”…as protestors chanted “Do you not hear us?” in the background. As Thoreau stated, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” The video reminds us that “behind everything you see, is something you don’t see”.

It shares the history of the monument, explaining the story of Charlotte Scott, who called President Abraham “a great friend” and who raised the call for an enduring monument to Lincoln from the colored people. As a black man named Joseph T. Wilson who extensively wrote and promoted the fundraising for the monument states “something tangible and visible”.  All of this at a time, when as the video also states women, native Americans or blacks had “little agency”.

After sharing the history and the dedication proceedings the video also informs us of the meanings and symbolism of the imagery and the “action” that the monument reveals. It begins by taking a closer look at the formerly enslaved black man named Archer Alexander who as Langston says he sees as rising with his face “lighting with joy! Facing the manhood of freedom.” Going on to compare everything from the clothes or lack thereof to the height differences between Alexander and Lincoln, the video does an excellent job of “Taking another look at the Emancipation Monument”.

The video shares the story of a monument that many think they know the story of, yet makes one stop, think and discover and is well documented. Written by Marcia E. Cole and Jill Giroir, video production by Jill Giroir, with voiceovers by Marcia E. Cole and Eric Garvanne, you can find the video on their website Emancipation Monument or https://www.emancipationmonument.org/ or on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IRi0J8adNU anytime.

From Taking Another Look

Previous video about the Emancipation Monument

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