May 21, 2013
Norton’s Long-Fought Effort to Bring D.C.’s Frederick Douglass Statue to the Capitol Ends in Victory
WASHINGTON, DC – The House today passed a resolution (S.Con.Res.16) authorizing the use of Emancipation Hall next month,Wednesday, June 19, 2013, to unveil the District of Columbia’s Frederick Douglass statue. The resolution, which passed the Senate last week, was approved in the House by a voice vote and does not need to be signed into law to take effect, marking the final step in the long-fought effort of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to allow the District, like the states, to have its own statue in the Capitol. During House consideration of the resolution today, Norton spoke and thanked the Republican leadership and Representative Candice Miller (R-MI), chair of the Committee on House Administration, for her help in bringing the resolution to the floor and Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA) for his longstanding commitment to placing a D.C. statue in the Capitol.
“Today, after years of work, our city receives closure that residents will be represented in the Capitol with a statue, like each of the 50 states,” said Norton. “Next month, on June 19, we will celebrate this long-sought symbol of our American citizenship. There is no better figure to represent our city than Frederick Douglass, who made the city his home and was deeply involved in D.C. government and in the civic affairs of the city. Douglass is not only one of the great international icons of human rights, he is remembered in the District also for his outspoken dedication to democratic self-government and congressional representation for the city.”
Norton found a number of allies in the House and Senate to help the District get its own statue in the Capitol. Last Congress, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, sponsored a stand-alone bill authorizing the move of the Douglass statue to the Capitol. The House companion to Schumer’s bill, sponsored by former Representative Dan Lungren (R-CA), then-chairman of the Committee on House Administration, and co-sponsored by Norton, was signed into law by President Obama on September 20, 2012. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), then-chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, earlier had included a provision in the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill, approved by the full committee, authorizing the move of the Douglass statue, but the bill was not considered on the Senate floor.
The Douglass statue will be only the fourth statue or bust in the Capitol that honors an African American.