Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, a non-voting representative of the District of Columbia in the House, on Thursday reintroduced her bill to remove the Emancipation Statue of former President Abraham Lincoln and a freed slave from a federal park in Washington, D.C.

Norton argued that the statue in Lincoln Park is a “problematic depiction of the fight to achieve emancipation.” The bill would move the statue to a museum with “an explanation of its origin and meaning,” according to Norton’s office. 

“Although formerly enslaved Americans paid for this statue, the design and sculpting process was done without their input or participation in any way, and it shows,” Norton said in a statement. “The statue fails to note how enslaved African Americans pressed for their own emancipation. Understandably, they were only recently liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom.”

Norton said freed black slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass “did not praise the statue” in his keynote address at the unveiling of the statue in 1876. She said Douglass privately said the statue “showed the negro on his knee when a more manly attitude would have been indicative of freedom.”

In a tweet Thursday, Norton said that formerly enslaved Americans, “grateful for any recognition, paid for this statue to be built in 1876, but the design and sculpting was done without their input, and it shows.”

Norton’s office announced that this bill is “the first in a series of statue and memorial removal bills Norton is introducing during Black History Month.”

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