March 29, 2011 by EVE · Comments Off
Published on March 29, 2011, in the Delmarva Daily Times:
ANNAPOLIS — A heavily amended bill to place a statue of Harriet Tubman in Statuary Hall passed the Senate unanimously Monday night, but advocates of the original bill aren’t happy about it.
The amended bill calls for Congress to make an exception so that Maryland can add Tubman as a third statue rather than replacing a statue of Revolution-era Maryland lawmaker John Hanson. Under the original bill the Hanson statue would have been removed from the Capitol and placed in Annapolis.
The bill’s sponsor in the House, Montgomery County Democrat Susan Lee, is unsure of the bill’s fate. She said she’s working with the chairman of the House Health and Government Operations Committee, Baltimore Democrat Peter Hammen, to decide how to pass a bill that is still meaningful, but said they may have to come back to it next year.
There was opposition to removing Hanson in high places in the Senate. Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr. said he would like to honor Tubman without removing the statue of Hanson, who Miller considers a central figure in the beginning of the nation.
In a press release, Equal Visibility Everywhere, a group working to honor more women with statues and other symbols, and a major supporter of the Tubman legislation, said the amendment “effectively guts” the original bill.
“There is absolutely no reason to expect that Congress will make a special exception for Maryland and allow them to have three statues,” said Suzanne Scoggins, Equal Visibility Everywhere’s director of women’s history. “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.”