DCPL Statement on Monuments

Plinth for the Albert Pike statue (figure removed on June 19, 2020). Photo by Jessica Unger.

The DC Preservation League (DCPL) is committed to the struggle for racial justice. We believe that historic preservation must be a prominent voice in celebrating the contributions and achievements of African Americans and play a vital role in achieving reconciliation through an honest and unsparing reckoning with the past.

We also believe that a full, frank, open, and inclusive conversation about our city’s monuments is necessary to such a reckoning.

This re-evaluation must recognize that while some monuments are longstanding elements of historic landscapes or exemplify the work of master artists and craft persons, they may reinforce past values and ideologies which are repugnant today, and their continuing display in public spaces may be unacceptable. 

In connection with our support for racial justice, DCPL strongly advocates for the preservation of local sites with special significance to African American history. These initiatives, often undertaken in partnership with community organizations and the DC Historic Preservation Office, are described in detail on our website.

Emancipation Memorial. Photographed by Carol M. Highsmith, 2010. Library of Congress.
Andrew Jackson Statue in Lafayette Square. Photographed by Carol M. Highsmith between 1980-2006. Library of Congress.