Pittsburgh just took down ‘the most racist statue in America’

This morning’s quiet removal followed a loud public discussion.

Crews carefully remove the statue from its base and load it onto a waiting flatbed truck.

Crews carefully remove the statue from its base and load it onto a waiting flatbed truck.

Renee Rosensteel / For The Incline
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Updated 2:15 p.m.

MORE COVERAGE: 10 photos of the step-by-step removal of Pittsburgh’s Stephen Foster statue

Surrounded by a throng of media and almost no one else, a City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works crew gathered at the Stephen Foster statue in Oakland not long after sunrise today to begin its removal.

In the shadow of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and beneath a sun-drenched American flag waving high above it, a DPW backhoe pulled into position, its bucket hovering over the bronze artwork.

No members of the public looked on. The city had not notified residents of the statue’s removal and only notified members of the media with a press release issued Wednesday afternoon and embargoed until the removal process began.

As crews in neon yellow vests tied straps to the statue and then those straps to the machine, a woman nearby shouted “Take it down” but kept walking. Beyond that, there were no exclamations from passersby.

Instead, the statue was quietly and anticlimactically hoisted from its perch and onto a waiting flatbed truck.

After more than 100 years on public display, it was gone in an hour.