Financed entirely by contributions from formerly enslaved men and women, Emancipation was the city’s principal memorial to Abraham Lincoln until 1922. The inscription records that freed woman Charlotte Scott began the campaign to erect the monument with a contribution of five dollars “being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her suggestion and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory.” The sculptural group by Thomas Ball depicts Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation with arms outstretched as a freedman—modeled after Archer Alexander, the last escapee captured under the Fugitive Slave Act—rises from his knees upon breaking free of his shackles. To supplement the $18,000 in donations assembled by the Western Sanitary Commission of St. Louis, Congress appropriated $3,000 for the granite pedestal designed by Major O.E. Babcock.
Added to the National Register: September 20, 1978