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.
March 22, 2011 by Suzanne Scoggins, Director of Women's History · Comments Off
The March issue of DC Spotlight is online, and the “In the Spotlight” featured person is none other than our own Dr. Lynette Long, president of EVE. Spotlight Editor-in-Chief Wendy Thompson interviewed Lynette at home, and the result is a fascinating article about the inspiration for EVE, our current projects, the background to the Harriet Tubman Statue Project, and more. Go read!
Thanks to DC Spotlight and Ms. Thompson for this wonderful piece. Here’s the video portion of the interview included with the article:
March 11, 2011 by Lynette Long, Ph.D., President of EVE · Comments Off
The Maryland General Assembly has an opportunity to send a new representative to the United States Capitol. This person wouldn’t be a voting member of Congress but would stand tall in the halls of the Capitol and serve as a symbol of freedom, courage and equality to all Americans. This session, the Maryland legislature will decide whether or not to replace the statue of John Hanson that has stood in National Statuary Hall for more than 100 years with one of Harriet Tubman.
National Statuary Hall was established in 1864 by an act of Congress. By law, each state is authorized to furnish two statues of citizens who are “illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services.” Harriet Tubman certainly fits that description. She was an abolitionist, a union spy, a suffragist, and a great Marylander who risked her own life countless times to save the lives of others. John Hanson, a Colonial era farmer and first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation, is represented by one of Maryland’s two statues in the collection. The other statue is of Charles Carroll, another Colonial-era Marylander, who was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Our nation’s Capitol is the symbol of our democracy. In a nation where we believe that anyone can accomplish anything, our government systematically sends the unmistakable message to girls and women that their contributions to our country’s history were insignificant. The enormous Capitol frieze surrounding the Rotunda depicts the history of the United States, celebrating key moments in our history from the nation’s inception to the discovery of flight, and yet there is only one recognizable woman depicted in those paintings: Pocahontas. In Statuary Hall itself, there is only one woman out of 38 statues, and only nine women in the entire Collection of 100 statues displayed throughout the Capitol. …continue reading
March 7, 2011 by EVE · Comments Off
The House and Senate committees will be voting this week on whether to move forward with the bill to put Harriet Tubman in Statuary Hall. The Senate committee may be voting as soon as Tuesday, March 8! Please contact these committee members and let them know that you support the bill (House Bill 455, Senate Bill 351). …continue reading
The first hearing on the Harriet Tubman statue bill was on February 23, and there’s been a slew of newspaper coverage about the debate in the Maryland legislature. We’re trying to post snippets of every article in our Maryland Statue Project in the News roundup.
We were cheered to see the Baltimore Sun’s editoral page come out in favor of the bill. Here’s the lead from the editorial:
We mean no disrespect to John Hanson, a Colonial-era planter from Charles County whom most Marylanders haven’t heard of, much less most Americans. He was a dedicated champion of American liberty from Great Britain and served in a variety of political posts during the Revolution and its aftermath, culminating in a one-year term as the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation. But the idea of replacing him as one of Maryland’s two representatives in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Statuary with Harriet Tubman is a good one. …continue reading
Dr. Lynette Long represented EVE at the press conference in Annapolis today announcing the announcing the introduction of the Harriet Tubman Statue bill in the Maryland State Legislature.
The bill (House Bill 455/Senate Bill 351), which is sponsored by Delegate Susan C. Lee and Senator Catherine Pugh, authorizes a statue of Harriet Tubman to be placed in National Statuary Hall representing Maryland. The bill calls for the existing statue of John Hanson to be returned to Annapolis.
The Harriet Tubman Statue Project was initiated last year by EVE as part of our Statuary Hall project. We enlisted the help of Maryland NOW to partner with us as co-sponsors of the Tubman campaign. EVE and Maryland NOW began approaching lawmakers last fall about sponsoring the legislation; Delegate Lee and Senator Pugh agreed to introduce the bill, and helped find many other co-sponsors.
The bill is supported by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Congress of Black Women, Inc., the NAACP of Maryland, the Maryland General Assembly’s Women’s Caucus, the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, and many others.
Both Dr. Long, the president of EVE, and Linda Mahoney, the president of Maryland NOW, spoke at the press conference, as did Delegate Lee, Senator Pugh, and the representatives of several other organizations.
The text of Dr. Long’s remarks follow: …continue reading
Big news! After months of mostly behind-the-scenes work, the Harriet Tubman Statue Project is about to move into the spotlight. Maryland Delegate Susan C. Lee will announce the introduction of bill HB455/SB351 to place a statue of Harriet Tubman in National Statuary Hall. She will be joined by Senator Catherine Pugh, the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate.
When: Tuesday, February 8, 2011, at 11:00 am.
Where: Room 406 Lowe House Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
EVE and Maryland NOW are co-sponsors of the project, so Dr. Lynette Long (president of EVE) and Linda Mahoney (president of Maryland NOW) will also be at the press conference. Other top leaders of women’s and community organizations will be in attendance as well.
Here’s the full text of the press announcement from Delegate Lee’s office.
EVE and Maryland NOW began approaching state lawmakers last fall about advocating for this legislation in the 2011 session. Delegate Lee, who is the President of the Maryland General Assembly’s Women’s Caucus, and Senator Pugh, Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, agreed to sponsor the bill.
The legislation calls for the statue of John Hanson to be returned to Maryland and displayed “in a place of honor” in Annapolis, the state capital. A commission will be appointed by the Governor to choose the sculptor for the Harriet Tubman statue, and funds will be raised from a coalition of non-profit groups and private citizens. There will be no cost to the state or to taxpayers.
An impressive list of individuals and organizations have already endorsed the bill, including Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Congress of Black Women, Inc., the NAACP of Maryland, and many others.
Below is the text of the press announcement from Delegate Lee’s office:
When: February 8th, 2011 at 11:00am
Where: Room 406 Lowes House Bld.
Delegate Susan C. Lee introduces bill to place a statue of American Hero Harriet Tubman in National Statuary Hall
Delegate Susan C. Lee (D-16) plans to announce the introduction of her bill to place a statue of Harriet Tubman, one of Maryland’s all time great American heroes in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol at a Tuesday, February 8th, 11am Press Conference at the Maryland House of Delegates, 6 Bladen Street, Rm. 406, Annapolis, Maryland. Delegate Lee, who is the President of the Maryland General Assembly’s Women’s Caucus will be joined by Senator Catherine Pugh (D-40) who is the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate, other legislators, Maryland NOW President Linda Mahoney, and other top leaders of women’s and community organizations. The bill already has the support of the Women’s Caucus (Women Legislators of Maryland), Governor Martin O’Malley, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Montgomery County Exec. Isiah Leggett, Prince George County Exec. Rushem Baker, Maryland NOW, EVE, MD NAACP, and other organizations. …continue reading
January 30, 2011 by EVE · Comments Off
EVE and Maryland NOW were at the Women’s Legislative Briefing on January 30 in Rockville, Maryland, on behalf of our Harriet Tubman Statue Project. The annual briefing, which is co-sponsored by more than 70 women’s and community organizations, addresses legislative proposals being considered in the upcoming sessions of the Maryland General Assembly and U.S. Congress.
Maryland Delegate Susan C. Lee, who is sponsoring the legislation for the Harriet Tubman statue, gave the presentation to the group using our PowerPoint slideshow (below). Our display table (pictured above) was staffed by EVE president Dr. Lynette Long and Maryland NOW president Linda Mahoney.
November 22, 2010 by Lynette Long, Ph.D., President of EVE · Comments Off
Last Saturday, November 20, representatives from both EVE and Maryland NOW attended a Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women (MLAW) conference in Rockville, Maryland. MLAW is a statewide coalition of women’s groups and individuals which advocates for pro-woman legislation in the General Assembly.
The conference was attended by a variety of groups including the Maryland Commission for Women, The Anne Arundel County Commission for Women, the ACLU of Maryland, the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, and the Polaris Project. Numerous state legislators were also in attendance, including Delegate Sue Kullen, Outgoing Chair of the Women’s Caucus; Senator Delores Goodwin Kelly; Delegate Kathleen Dumais; Senator Jennie Forehand; Senator Jamie Raskin; Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez; Delegate Sue Hecht; and Senator Joanne Claybon Benson.
Linda Mahoney, the President of Maryland NOW, and I were there to make the case for the Harriet Tubman statue project. We handed out fliers describing the project, gave a presentation in front of the full body, and answered questions from the audience. The audience was quick to understand the problem (only nine women in National Statuary Hall) and the psychological implications for women and girls. Everyone I spoke to was enthusiastic about helping with the project.
We were asked numerous questions by the audience and in individual conversations. Here are some of the questions and our answers:
- Which statue (John Hanson or Charles Carroll) are you going to ask to have removed from Statuary Hall?
We are going to leave that decision up to the Maryland Legislature.
- Do you have a sponsor for the bill?
Not yet, but we have contacted the delegates from Dorchester County, where Harriet Tubman was born.
- Do you have a resolution written?
Yes, we have a draft of a resolution written.
- How much will the statue cost?
The statue will cost approximately two-hundred fifty thousand dollars.