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EVE is a group of people committed to creating Equal Visibility Everywhere for women. Founded in March 2010, we're a not-for-profit dedicated to achieving gender parity in the symbols and icons of the United States.

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Lynette Long, Ph.D., President of EVE

by Lynette Long, Ph.D., President of EVE
April 29, 2012 · Comments Off  

The Harriet Tubman Statue project in Maryland had a major victory this legislative session. The statue bill passed both houses of the General Assembly and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.

After passage in the House of Delegates 133-0, an eleventh hour amendment of the House version allowed by Senate President Mike Miller threw procedural obstacles in the way of passage. With time running out and many bills held up in a power struggle over the budget, sponsor Del. Susan Lee and Chairman Pete Hammen finessed the rules and got the Senate version amended and passed so the bills would be identical and not require a conference committee.

Coalition leader and Maryland NOW president Linda Mahoney expressed her disappointment that some in the legislature are still unwilling to have Harriet Tubman be one of the two official Maryland statues in Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol: “I would have preferred to have the original bill from 2011 passed. However, we looked at the demographics in the legislature and decided that a Harriet Tubman statue in the U.S. Capitol now would be preferable to a possible statue in the Statuary Hall Collection in a decade or two. We want Harriet Tubman to be someone that girls and young women can look up to and realize that gender and ethnicity do not have to be a bar to achievement by individuals who want to improve the lives of the people around them.”

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Project Update: Statuary Hall

Press Release on Harriet Tubman Statue Bill, with statement from EVE President Lynette Long

March 28, 2011 by EVE   · Comments Off

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last Thursday a Maryland Senate committee approved an amendment that effectively guts the bill to place a statue of Harriet Tubman in National Statuary Hall.

The original bill (Senate Bill 351) calls for Maryland’s existing statue of John Hanson to be replaced with one of Harriet Tubman. The new amendment almost completely rewrites the bill, asking Congress instead to give Maryland special permission to place three statues, with the Tubman statue as the third addition.

“But we already know the answer to that,” says Suzanne Scoggins of EVE (Equal Visibility Everywhere), which sponsored the original legislation. “The answer is no. Each state is allowed two statues. The rules for Statuary Hall are precise and carefully formulated. There are 100 statues in the collection—two from each state—and the Capitol barely has room for all of them as it is. If you want to change a statue, you bring one home and send the new one in its place. There is absolutely no reason to expect that Congress will make a special exception for Maryland and allow them to have three statues. The supporters of the amendment are calling it a ‘compromise,’ but it’s not a compromise. Maryland isn’t going to be allowed to have three statues, and they know it. The effect of the amendment is to kill the Harriet Tubman statue.”

In an statement, EVE President Lynette Long said:

Maryland had a unique opportunity to replace a slaveholder with a slave, a white man with a Black woman, a colonial figure with a Civil War figure. They have squandered that opportunity. Instead, they’ve chosen to petition Congress for something they know they won’t get, in a transparent attempt to pass the buck to the federal government.

The population of Maryland is 29% African-American and 51% female. Harriet Tubman, an African-American woman from Maryland, was one of the most courageous and inspiring individuals in our nation’s history. She was truly one of the all-time great American heroes, one of a handful of names that every schoolchild in this country knows. It is only right that she should be one of the two individuals representing Maryland in National Statuary Hall. Yet a small group of white male legislators has derailed the entire project.

Leading the opposition is Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., a 68-year-old Democrat who has been a member of the Maryland Senate since 1975. He is joined by two other long-standing Democrats, Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton (a member of the Senate since 1995 and a relative of John Hanson) and Senator Roy Dyson, also a member of the Senate since 1995.

These gentlemen apparently believe that Maryland is best represented in Statuary Hall by an all-male, all-white contingent. Rather than honor Harriet Tubman, they prefer to keep the statues of Charles Carroll and John Hanson that have been in place since 1903. Charles Carroll was the largest slaveholder in the American colonies, and John Hanson was a minor figure who served a one-year term presiding over the Continental Congress.

What is especially disturbing is that on February 16, 2011, the Southern Maryland News reported Senator Miller as proposing that “a special category should be established in Statuary Hall for women and blacks who were not considered when states first were invited to contribute statues in 1864.” This smacks of separate but equal. It’s a sexist and racist statement that ignores the fact that women and Blacks have made contributions throughout history that have been ignored.

…continue reading

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