CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF PROSPECT PARK LAFAYETTE STATUE
Commemorates Unveiling by French Dignitaries During WWI
On May 10 the American Friends of Lafayette will host a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of Prospect Park’s sculpture of Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, accompanied by an African-American servant.
Date: May 10, 2017
Time: 4 PM
Location: 9th Street entrance, Prospect Park, Brooklyn
RAIN OR SHINE
Created by Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), sculptor of the Lincoln Memorial, the Lafayette Memorial was unveiled on May 10, 1917 by members of the French War Commission including Prime Minister René Viviani and Marshall Joseph Joffre, former Commander of the Western Front. Coming a month after the U.S. entered WWI, the event drew thousands of onlookers to the streets of Brooklyn waving French and American flags and made the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
The sculpture has since gained attention for its inclusion of a black servant who might be James Armistead, a slave who served as a spy during the Battle of Yorktown. Lafayette helped James to win his freedom in recognition of his service to the American Revolution.
The wreath-laying will feature brief remarks by: Anne-Claire Legendre, Consul General of France in New York; Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Art and Antiquities, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation; and Laura Auricchio, author of The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered (Knopf, 2014). Representatives from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, Lafayette College, and the Prospect Park Alliance will be present and are expected to offer remarks.
free and open to the public