Emancipation Monument

This memorial to Abraham Lincoln, DC's first, was funded entirely by formerly enslaved men and women.

Financed entirely by contributions from formerly enslaved men and women, the Emancipation Monument was the city’s principal memorial to Abraham Lincoln until 1922. The inscription records that freedwoman 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.

The monument was dedicated on the anniversary of the Lincoln assassination in 1876, with President Grant, many dignitaries, and a huge crowd in attendance to hear Frederick Douglass give the oration.

Part of Civil War Monuments
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979
National Register: September 20, 1978



Lincoln Park, NE/SE