House votes to remove statues from U.S. Capitol
The Democrat-controlled House voted Wednesday to remove all Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
“This day is about doing better,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “Recognizing our faults, not honoring them. And relegating them, yes, to history, but not to honor.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also supported removing the statues that they say symbolize America’s history of slavery and the oppression of African Americans.
The bill replaces the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the Capitol with a bust of Thurgood Marshall, who in 1967 became the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court. It also would remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America for the Capitol building.
Democrats asked colleagues to remember the late Congressman John Lewis (D) who passed away last week. They said the best way to honor his legacy is to pass a new Voting Rights Act, and that removing the statues in the Capitol is what Lewis would have wanted.
“If John were here, he would be speaking to you about this effort,” Hoyer said.
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D), the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, also said the vote was a way to honor Lewis.
“Just imagine what it feels like as an African American to know that my ancestors built the Capitol, but yet there are monuments to the very people that enslaved my ancestors,” Bass said. “These individuals do not deserve to be honored.”
Confederate statues and many others such as Christopher Columbus have been vandalized and, in some cases, destroyed across the nation as major riots and protests still linger on in response to the death of George Floyd.
Democrats say that with COVID-19 attacking the nation, police brutality debates ongoing, and racism again front and center removing the Confederate statues from the Capitol is a very important step forward.
The bill’s future is unknown in the Republican-controlled Senate. Many senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they believe the decision of what statues are in the Capitol, for the most part, should be left up to the 50 states, each of whom gets to select two statues to display in the building. McConnell said several states are already taking the steps to remove controversial statues from the building.
Congress is also currently passing legislation to rename U.S. military bases that include the names of Confederate generals. President Donald Trump has said he will likely veto any attempt to rename those bases.
Scroll down to comment!