It turns out that the Statue of Liberty was not meant to herald the end of slavery, despite popular myths to the contrary.
A project funded by the National Park Service in 2000 debunked popular rumors surrounding the Statue of Liberty’s creation after receiving questions about the monument’s origins.
“In response, the Monument’s Superintendent launched an intensive, two-year investigation of the rumors and the truth about the statue’s early history,” the report’s summary reads.
One common rumor claimed the monument was supposed to commemorate black Civil War soldiers. The report debunked the myth, saying the statue was “not intended entirely as a monument to the end of slavery.”
While one of the artists was an abolitionist, Edouard de Laboulaye and Auguste Bartholdi created the statue to celebrate a broad idea of liberty, according to the report.
Another myth stated that the original replica for the statute was a black woman, but had to be changed because of white people.
“There is no evidence that Bartholdi’s “original” design was perceived by white American supporters or the United States government as representing a black woman, or was changed on those grounds,” the report said.
The report also pointed out that there is a possibility that some of the statue’s designs originated from Bartholdi’s sketches of black Egyptians.
“We found no corroborating evidence that Edouard Laboulaye or Auguste Bartholdi intended to depict Liberty as a black woman. Laboulaye’s intent was to present a monument that would commemorate the fulfillment of America’s commitment to universal liberty established by the Declaration of Independence, and set an example for other nations,” the report revealed.
The U.S. Mint announced that this year’s coin would feature a black Lady Liberty. (RELATED: US Mint Makes Lady Liberty Black For 225th Anniversary)
“Lady Liberty, depicted in coinage throughout the years, is modeled after our society’s continued evolution – and as we as a nation continue to evolve, so does its representation,” the Mint’s chief of staff declared.
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