WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) announced the re-introduction of their bicameral bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. The Confederate Monument Removal Act would remove all statues of people who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from the National Statuary Hall Collection within 120 days of the bill being signed into law.
Booker and Lee first introduced the bill in 2017.
“The National Statuary Hall Collection is intended to honor American patriots who served, sacrificed, or made tremendous contributions to our nation,” said Senator Booker. “Those who committed treason against the United States of America and led our nation into its most painful and bloody war to preserve the institution of slavery are not patriots and should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space. Removing these statues from the Capitol is long overdue, and is especially urgent in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by violent, far-right-wing extremists and white supremacists, some of whom carried Confederate symbols.”
“Symbols of bigotry and racism have no place in our society and certainly should not be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol,” said Congresswoman Lee. “It is past time for Congress to stop glorifying the men who committed treason against the United States in a concerted effort to uphold slavery and white supremacy. The movement to honor Confederate soldiers was a deliberate act to rewrite the history of the United States and humanize acts designed to dehumanize African Americans. These statues are not representative of our values or our democracy. They are symbols of hatred and defiance of federal authority and should not be held in a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol.”
I am happy to join Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Senator Cory Booker in efforts to do 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 stored by the Architect of the Capitol.