The Chicago Transit Authority created a social media frenzy after retweeting photos of an Abraham Lincoln impersonator in the train station to celebrate Black History Month.
The CTA Twitter account posted pictures of the lookalike interacting with commuters at a stop on its red line, as reported by The Chicago Tribune.
“In honor of Black History Month, Abraham Lincoln was seen making a guest appearance on the CTA,” the agency captioned a retweet featuring the pictures of the impersonator. The images appeared online on Wednesday, which was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
It didn’t go over well.
“How are you honoring a white man on black history month?” wrote one user.
“It’s tasteless by CTA. They should honor Black history month in February with a more thought out initiative,” wrote another.
“Your parading of Abe Lincoln on his Day Of Birth was fine,” explained one person. “But to say it was to honor Black History is a slap in the face. What better way to say “You blacks have this White Man to thank for freeing your Forefathers!”
Following the backlash, CTA deleted the tweet and issued an apology.
“Apologies, unfortunately our last retweet went in a direction that was not at all intended. Nonetheless, we WILL continue to honor the African Americans who have played a large role in CTA history,” CTA tweeted.
A spokesperson told the Tribune the CTA twitter account is typically used to share transit updates and “to share others’ content we think our followers would enjoy, including posts that highlight moments that delight our riders and what makes transit special to life in a city.”
The rep admitted the post missed the mark.
“Unfortunately, the wording we used while sharing one of those moments didn’t capture the lighthearted spirit of our customer’s original tweet,” the spokesperson continued. “Based on feedback from our followers, we felt it was best to remove the post, acknowledge those concerns and apologize.”
Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and is widely known for signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which freed enslaved Black people.
However, he didn’t sign the document out of love for Black people.
“The War is waged by the government of the United States not in the spirit of conquest or subjugation, nor for the purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or institutions of the states, but to defend and protect the Union,” he said in 1861.
He was also a proponent of segregation based on pseudoscience that argued Black people were genetically inferior to white people.
“There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races,” Lincoln said in 1857. “A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together.”