More than 100 years after it first went on public display, Pittsburgh’s Stephen Foster statue in Oakland was removed today, following a prolonged debate about its racial imagery and undertones.
Here are 10 photos from of the statue’s removal.
The statue’s removal began just after dawn. Surrounding the statue’s base were pictures of black Pittsburgh women whose memorial could replace the Foster tribute.
The statue by sculptor Giuseppe Moretti – who also sculpted the panthers on the Panther Hollow Bridge and the sculptures at the entrance to Highland Park – was unveiled in Highland Park in 1900. It moved to its current North Oakland location in 1940.
Occasionally referred to as “Uncle Ned” or “Old Black Joe,” a black man is positioned at Foster’s feet in tattered clothing and playing a banjo.
A Pittsburgh Department of Public Works crew examines the statue.
The crew prepares to hoist the statue off its base.
The mouth of a backhoe positioned over the statue.
Workers carefully remove the statue from its base and load it onto a waiting flatbed truck.
A public works flatbed was waiting to pick up the statue and take it to storage.
The statue’s heavy granite base was also removed.
For now, the statue is headed to storage. It’s unclear where its permanent home will be.