Bronze and seven feet tall, the statue of Douglass, 19th century abolitionist, orator, first Black U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia and presidential advisor, now stands in the lobby of a D.C. government building a few blocks from where non-voting Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and another member of Congress believe it should stand.
 
And because the Douglass statue was commissioned by the city’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, it is barred, by law, from a place there.
 
Norton has said that a statue for the District also would offer its residents “the opportunity to enjoy the same pride that all other citizens experience when they come to their Capitol — the opportunity to view memorials that commemorate the efforts of residents who have made significant contributions to their jurisdiction and to American history.”
 
Schumer’s bill cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee June 21 and, along with a Schumer resolution to put the statue under the control of Congress’ Joint Committee on the Library, bypassing the law limiting Statuary Hall pieces to state-commissioned pieces,  is to be considered on the floor of the Senate in this session of Congress, according to Roll Call.
 
“I am thankful for Senator Schumer’s recognition of Frederick Douglass for the national icon and abolitionist hero that he is,” said Norton in a statement. Norton spokesman Scott McCrary told the AFRO that  Norton is optimistic that the statue “is going in the Capitol, we just don’t know where.” 

 

Jessika Morgan

AFRO Staff Writer