Give credit where it’s due for the Lincoln Memorial

Sep 16, 2017 1890

BY: Dona De Sanctis

I was appalled by the gross distortion of facts in “A mural for memorial men” [Metro, Sept. 2]. The article about a mural recently installed near Union Station paid tribute to the African American men who “carved the marble from mountains in northwestern Georgia” and “built the 120-ton statue” of Abraham Lincoln in his iconic memorial, noting that “many were the children of slaves.” Buried deep in the article we learn that “Italian immigrants also helped build the statue, which was designed by Daniel Chester French.”

The “Italian immigrants” were the six Piccirilli brothers, master stone carvers who were the “go-to” sculptors for U.S. memorials at the time. They did the fountain in Dupont Circle, the memorial to the USS Maine in New York’s Central Park and the iconic lions guarding the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, among many, many others. They carved Lincoln’s statue, which took about six years to complete. The African American workers did not build the statue. They assembled it.

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