Statues of Confederate generals and other notable figures of the side that lost the Civil War are coming down across the country. But one place where they still inexplicably stand is in the U.S. Capitol building.
A group of Black lawmakers are hoping to change that. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling, once and for all, for these controversial figures to be removed from Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.
According to CBC Chair, Cedric Richmond (D-La.),
We will never solve America’s race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African Americans in chains.”
The trend to remove these figures is growing across the nation in the wake of the violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In Baltimore this week, statues of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and other Confederate actors were taken down by the city in the early hours on Wednesday morning. Later on in the day, plaques honoring Lee were removed from parks in New York City. And earlier this year, Confederate statues were removed from the city of New Orleans.
Other governments are considering moves to remove their plaques and statues. North Carolina’s Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, expressed interest in removing Confederate monuments all around his state, and a gubernatorial candidate in Georgia is urging the state to destroy an engraving in the side of a mountain depicting Confederate generals at Stone Mountain park.
The statues in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol building can be removed one of two ways. The states, which commission the statues in the first place, can replace them voluntarily; but Congress can also vote to remove them, too.
Nine states — Florida, West Virginia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana — currently have statues of Confederate statesmen or military members representing them in Statuary Hall.
The statues deserve to come down. They represent a failed rebellion against the United States, a failed attempt to dissolve this Union, over disagreements on whether certain groups of men and women could be owned as property.
We have thankfully ended that chapter in our nation’s history. But there is no need to continue honoring it, especially in our nation’s Capitol building where the tenets of freedom and liberty should be given preference over a history that is, quite frankly, a shameful chapter in our nation’s past.
Check out this tour of Statuary Hall:
Featured Image Via Architect of the Congress, Statuary Hall/Government Work.