When I first encountered the bust in 1997, I was surprised to see it had been painted black. Perhaps someone had decided to make Lincoln symbolically part of the community in the same way churches with black congregations sometimes repaint white statues of Jesus Christ. I asked one young man how he felt about the black Lincoln, and he told me, "They should clean it up. White, that was his real color."
When I visited the corner a year later, the Lincoln statue was white. I asked another local what he thought of the change. "I liked him black," he replied. Over the years, Lincoln was worn by the weather. By 2004, he was no longer black or white, but dappled like a Dalmatian.
When I returned in 2007, the bust had been repainted, but the Gangster Disciples, a well-known Chicago gang, had used the statue to mark their territory. They had defaced one side of Lincoln with their symbol, a Star of David.
I visited the Lincoln bust on Google Maps this week. Using the street-level view, I found the lonely white statue standing at the southwest corner of 69th and South Wolcott. The star is still visible.
Click here for a slide show of the changes to the Abraham Lincoln statue.
TODAY IN SLATE
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again
I’m 25. I Have $250.03.
My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?