Published on February 4, 2011, in Corridor Inc.:
February 4, 2011 — An effort to replace the statue of a Revolutionary War-era Maryland politician with a Civil War-era former slave at the U.S. Capitol is sparking debate about whose contributions to history are more important.
The women’s caucus and the Legislative Black Caucus are both supporting legislation to replace a statue of John Hanson, a Charles County planter and the first president of the Continental Congress, replaced with a statue of Harrie Tubman, but the groups are running into opposition from Sen. President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr.
The Hanson statue is one of two that Maryland has contributed to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol. But Delegate Susan Lee, D-Montgomery, says it’s time to replace it with someone who more accurately represents the history and diverse population of Maryland.
Lee, president of the women’s caucus, and other supporters say that Tubman would be a role model for girls visiting the Capitol.
Of the 100 statues in the collection, two from each state, only nine are of women. None of those women are African-American, and no statue portrays an enslaved person.
“There are descendants of slaves in Maryland who are not represented. They built this state on their backs for free,” said Sen. Delores Kelly, D-Baltimore County, at a women’s caucus meeting Wednesday to discuss the measure.
Supporters in the women’s caucus had hoped the bill would be a feel-good, bipartisan rallying point in a session lacking in feel-good legislation and troubled by budget woes. But the opposition is an obstacle.
Under the proposed legislation, the statue of Hanson would be placed in Annapolis. A statue of Charles Carroll, another Revolutionary War-era politician and the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, will remain in the Capitol.
The women’s caucus is holding a press conference Tuesday to drum up support for the bill.
The statue would be paid for by donations from individuals and nonprofit organizations. The Maryland Chapter of the National Organization for Women and Equal Visibility Everywhere are lobbying for the bill and have pledged to raise the funds for the statue.
Miller calls the effort “insane.”
“It’s not a racial issue, it’s not a women’s issue,” Miller said. “It’s a common sense issue. You don’t take down a statue of the president of the United States.”
Maryland May Send Harriet Tubman to Washington : EVE | Equal Visibility Everywhere says:
[...] Democrat Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr., the Maryland senate president, who called the effort “insane:” It’s not a racial issue, it’s not a women’s issue. It’s a common sense issue. You [...]