Politics

Lincoln Statue At S.F. City Hall Defaced Amid Debate Over His Legacy

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A statue of Abraham Lincoln at San Francisco City Hall was defaced over the weekend, the former president’s face and name covered in shiny red paint.

The incident reflects a growing debate over the legacy of the Civil War president in San Francisco, including a proposal to rename Lincoln High.

The timing also corresponds to the Dec. 26, 1862, anniversary of the hanging of 38 Sioux warriors during the Lincoln administration and the Dakota Uprising.

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department received a report about someone painting the statue on Saturday just before 1 p.m., but the suspect had fled by the time deputies arrived, officials said.

The damage was superficial and city workers cleaned it up Monday, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Why is Lincoln in #SanFrancisco ‘bloody’ today?

It has to do with his role in the largest mass execution in US history. A story that we were not taught in school.

The marring of the statue is the latest in a broader reassessment of the nation’s history and racist past, which also included the San Francisco school district’s hotly debated decision to cover a Washington High School mural depicting slavery and Native American mistreatment.

A similar statue of Lincoln was vandalized in Spokane, Wash., on Thanksgiving Day, the same day a statue of George Washington was toppled in Minneapolis. In Boston and Washington, D. C., many have called for the removal of Emancipation memorials, which each include an African American man kneeling at Lincoln’s feet.

The controversy over Lincoln in San Francisco, and specifically the proposed renaming of his namesake school, drew national attention following a Chronicle story, with President Trump posting several tweets about the issue.

Lincoln High School is one of 44 school sites in the city that could get a new name based on a recommendation from a school district task force.

The current school names, including Washington, Balboa and Jefferson, have connections to slavery, genocide or oppression and should be changed, according to a committee recommendation heading to the school board in January.

For many, Lincoln was a shocking addition to the list, given his role in freeing slaves during the Civil War and his revered status among historians and politicians, including former President Barack Obama, who called him “the most remarkable of men,” and “my homeboy from Illinois.”

Many alumni, among others, are opposed to the renaming.

“The committee members are applying 2020 thinking t… (Read more)

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