Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) introduced a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. The bill, the Confederate Monument Removal Act, originally introduced by Congresswoman Lee in 2017 in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, would remove all statues of people who voluntarily served the Confederate State of America from the National Statuary Hall Collection within 120 days.
“Americans in all 50 states and millions of people around the world are marching to protest racism and police violence directed at people of color, and yet across the country, Confederate statues and monuments still pay tribute to white supremacy and slavery in public spaces,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It is time to tell the truth about what these statues are: hateful symbols that have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol.”
“After talking with several religious leaders, I am happy to join Congresswoman Barbara Lee in filing a bill doing away with symbols that continue to divide and haunt this country. We do this in a spirit of racial reconciliation and healing,” said Congressman Thompson.
The National Statuary Hall Collection was created in 1864 with a law that allows states to select two statues of deceased individuals to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol. Under the Confederate Monument Removal Act, states can reclaim Confederate statues that are currently part of the National Statuary Hall Collection. Statues that are not reclaimed by states would be turned over to the Smithsonian.
The Confederate Monument Removal Act is cosponsored by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Andre Carson (D-IN), Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Alma Adams (D-NC), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Al Green (D-TX), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
The full text of the bill can be found here.
Top photo: National Statuary Hall provided by US Capitol/Public Domain