House Dem vows to remove more ‘shameful’ historical statues during Black History Month

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate to the House of Representatives, is preparing a series of bills aimed at removing historical statutes as a way of marking Black History Month. This week, Norton proposed a bill to remove the statue of former President Jackson on horseback, which sits at a federal park directly across from the White House. That is the same statue that protesters tried to unsuccessfully tear down in 2020 during a demonstration soon after the death of George Floyd. “This bill is part of a series of statue and memorial removal bills I am introducing during Black History Month,” Norton said this week. DEMOCRATS DEMAND REMOVAL OF LINCOLN EMANCIPATION MEMORIAL IN DC She said the statue should come down because Jackson was a slave owner and is linked to America’s “shameful” treatment of Native Americans. “Jackson was an enslaver and signed a law that forced Native Americans to move west of the Mississippi River,” she said. “During this forced expulsion by the federal government, roughly 4,000 Cherokee died in what is now known as the Trail of Tears.” “This prominent location in the Nation’s capital, right outside of the White House, should never have honored a man who was an unabashed racist, owned enslaved people and authorized the genocide of Native Americans,” she added. Norton’s bill would require the secretary of the interior to remove the statue from Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C., and donate it to a museum, which it can be considered with “appropriate historical context.” DEMS ACCUSE GOP OF RACISM AS HOUSE VOTES DOWN ‘RADICAL’ DC COUNCIL LAWS Last week, Norton proposed a bill that would remove the Emancipation Memorial from Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. That statue portrays former President Lincoln freeing a Black slave who is crouched on one knee before Lincoln. “The statue fails to depict how enslaved African Americans pressed for their own emancipation,” Norton said. “At the time, they had only recently been liberated from slavery and were grateful for any recognition of their freedom.” “However, in his keynote address at the unveiling of the statue, Frederick Douglass pointedly did not praise the statue, and, indeed, in private remarks, went as far as to say, it ‘showed the Negro on his knee when a more manly attitude would have been indicative of freedom,’” she added. GOP MOVES TO PROTECT MOUNT RUSHMORE FROM ACTIVISTS LOOKING TO RENAME IT OR TEAR IT DOWN Democrats and their allies have pushed for the last several years to remove statutes and monuments honoring slave owners, but those efforts have been met by conservative efforts to preserve those monuments. In January, House Republicans proposed a bill aimed protecting Mount Rushmore, by prohibiting the federal government from demolishing it or altering it in any way. Opponents of that monument say it disrespects Native Americans, as it was built in the Black Hills in South Dakota that was sacred to Native American tribes. “Our nation’s history is not without its flaws, but there is no doubt the faces on Mount Rushmore represent democracy, freedom and the great American experiment,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. “Removing or changing Mount Rushmore will not change the past and will not move us forward as a country. We must protect Mount Rushmore for generations to come.”
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