FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show The Original Statue Of Liberty In St. Martin?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purportedly shows the original Statue of Liberty in St. Martin.

Verdict: False

The statue in the photo was erected in St. Martin in 2007 to celebrate emancipation. It has nothing to do with the U.S.

Fact Check:

The post includes two photos, both of which show a statue of a woman in a white dress who is looking into a lantern that is above her head. “The Original Statue of Liberty of America is in St.Marteen,” the post’s caption claims. “Because It Resembled A Black Woman The USA didn’t want it after it was created.”

A reverse image search revealed the statue featured in the photos was erected in 2007 in St. Martin, the French side of the divided Caribbean island, according to a June 4, 2007 edition of St. Martin-based newspaper The Daily Herald. The statue, called “Lady of Liberty,” was created by sculptor Theodore Bonev “to mark the 159th anniversary of emancipation from slavery on the French Side,” the outlet reported. A post on the American Historical Association’s website about the “Lady of Liberty” statue matches the account from The Daily Herald. Neither source mentions the statue being rejected by the U.S.

The Statue of Liberty was gifted to the U.S. from the French Oct. 28, 1886, according to the National Park Service (NPS), 121 years before the creation of the St. Martin statue. The Statue of Liberty is regarded as “a universal symbol of freedom and democracy” in America, the NPS states. (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Replica Statue Of Liberty In Syria Made From The Rubble Of The Artist’s Home?)

In 2018, California map dealer Barry Lawrence Ruderman purchased a folder containing Gustave Eiffel’s previous designs and stumbled upon some of his original ideas for the Statue of Liberty, an article published by Smithsonian Magazine reports. Previous designs for the statue included a bulkier shoulder and vertical arm, according to the outlet. The article makes no mention of the statue resembling a black woman in any shape or form.

Check Your Fact previously debunked an image from March 2021 that allegedly showed the woman who had posed for the Statue of Liberty’s design.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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