Total Pageviews

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It\'s Official: Capitol to Display Douglass Statue


The District of Columbia achieved a small victory in the fight for equal representation on Thursday as President Obama signed a law allowing a statute of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass to be displayed in the Capitol.

Congress passed the bill last week allowing the District of Columbia its first statue in the Capitol. In addition to living, breathing representation in the form of two senators and a number of representatives, each state is allotted two statues to represent it in the halls of Congress.

But, as lawmakers had long pointed out, the District of Columbia is not a state.

Though a seemingly minor achievement, it has been years in the making for Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district's nonvoting representative. She has been fighting to bring the statue, which was completed in 2007, to the Capitol from its current home in a District government building.

Born into slavery in 1818, Douglass escaped as a young man and became a leading abolitionist, speaking and writing about equal rights and advising President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. He died at his home in Washington, D.C., in 1895.

The bronze statute will be placed in Emancipation Hall in the Capitol's visitor center, joining the 18 statues already on display there. The hall itself was named in 2007 in honor of the slaves who helped build the Capitol.