Meet The 350 New Statues Replacing SF’s Racist Statue at Golden Gate Park

The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

Back in 2016 at the height of the Colin Kaepernick National Anthem controversy, this website broke the news of a racist “slave” reference on the Francis Scott Key statue in Golden Gate Park. We didn’t actually “break” the news, the inscription had been sitting there in plain sight for more than 128 years at the time. And justice was done when that statue was toppled down by protestors last year.

A new statue replaced it Friday, or rather, 350 statues replaced it. The new installation Monumental Reckoning pays homage to the first 350 Africans “stolen from their homeland and sold into chattel slavery in 1619.” These works will remain at the Golden Gate for at least two years.

“African descendants had our roots cut. Most of us don’t know where we come from. We don’t know who our people are,” said artist Dana King (above) at  Friday’s unveiling ceremony. “But we have deep history that has come with us.”

Yes, that is the same Dana King who was the anchor of CBS 5 local news from 1997-2012.

Friday’s ceremony was held the day before Juneteenth, which is fitting, because the Francis Scott Key statue was toppled on Juneteenth last year.

“Black people, we have always celebrated Juneteenth as a holiday,” Mayor Breed said at the ceremony. “Now, finally, people understand the significance of what this means for us.”

The old spot that used to have that slave lyric inscription now has a QR code that takes views to a website describing the work. For comparison, here is what that panel used to look like, and here is the offending lyric.

After a series of speeches introducing the work Friday, a procession walked from the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse amphitheatre to the installation, singing the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Above we see the procession arriving at the statues.

The irony was striking, as the Black National Anthem was sang aloud on a procession to a spot where the National Anthem author’s statue used to stand, a true changing of the guard. According to a the Monumental Reckoning website, “ the universal beckoning of ‘LIFT EVERY VOICE’ will be installed above the historic Spreckels Temple of Music in honor of the civil rights champion James Weldon Johnson, author of the defacto Black National Anthem ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’: 

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

Vital Bay Area Refuge For Low Income Artists Needs Your Help!

Next post

We Want to Send You and a Friend to the CJM's Levi Strauss Exhibition!

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.