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Libertarian Frederick Douglass’s statue unveiled at Capitol

19 Jun

Frederick Douglass

statue unveiled in

the Capitol

Drew Angerer/Getty Images – The Frederick Douglass Statue in Emancipation
 Hall at the Capitol Visitors Center, at the U.S. Capitol, on June 19, 2013, in
 Washington, D.C. Congressional leaders dedicated the statue during a
ceremony on Wednesday.

It is just over seven feet tall, a bronze, bearded figure with a
 determined gaze perched atop a three-foot marble pedestal.
The combined weight is 1,700 pounds, but the symbolic heft of
 the Frederick Douglass statue is much greater, as became clear
Wednesday when the carving of the famed abolitionist and
District advocate found its place inside the halls of Congress
 after years of delay and debate.
More news about D.C. politics

Frederick Douglass statue unveiled in the Capitol

Frederick Douglass statue unveiled in the Capitol

The famed abolitionist and District advocate’s carving finds its place after delay and debate.

Before an audience that included Douglass’s descendants,
 national and local leaders, and representatives of the
many places he called home, the first statue chosen to
 represent the District was unveiled at a ceremony filled
with pageantry in the Capitol Visitor Center’s
Emancipation Hall.

Of all the notable figures who have come to live in
Washington, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said,
 “none before or since Douglass . . . has so joined his
national prominence and philosophy with the aspirations
 of the people of the District of Columbia. . . .H e refused
 to separate his life in the District with the equality theme
of his courageous life.”
The statue’s arrival marked the culmination of a fight by
Norton and others that has stretched over a decade. Fittingly
for a city that has endured repeated frustration at the hands
 of Congress, Wednesday’s victory was only a partial one.
While the 50 states have two statues apiece in the Capitol,
the District was granted only one, as congressional
Republicans objected to placing it on equal footing with the
 states. So a second completed statue, of architect Pierre
 L’Enfant, remains at One Judiciary Square and the District
 gets the same allotment as U.S. territories, despite the fact
 that — as local activists emphasize — Washingtonians pay 
federal income taxesand territorial residents do not.
Some speakers Wednesday noted the irony that Douglass, a
champion of D.C. voting rights and self-government, was
being enshrined in a building where the city’s voice remains
muffled.
“We know that a single statue is not enough. . . . It is incumbent
 on all of us to right this wrong of history and afford the District
 of Columbia the voice it deserves,” said House Minority Leader
 Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). Her fellow Democrats onstage applauded
 her remarks, while House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat in
 silence.
The two Republicans also declined to clap when Senate Majority
 Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) declared that the District “deserves
 statehood” and said that he had signed on to co-sponsor statehood
 legislation. Vice President Biden did not mention statehood but said
 he and President Obama support “home rule, budget autonomy and
 a vote for the District of Columbia.”
Although Republicans avoided talk of the District’s plight, Boehner
praised Douglass as “an example for humanity that is unmatched,”
while McConnell called him a great “leader of the Republican Party.”
(Biden also joked that Douglass was “one of my favorite Republicans.”)
And Nettie Washington Douglass, his great-great-granddaughter,
said he “gave his spirit as a birthright to all of us.”

    Frederick Douglass statue installed at Capitol

    19 Jun

    Frederick Douglass statue unveiled in the Capitol

    Drew Angerer/Getty Images – The Frederick Douglass Statue in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitors Center, at the U.S. Capitol, on June 19, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Congressional leaders dedicated the statue during a ceremony on Wednesday.
    It is just over seven feet tall, a bronze, bearded figure with a determined gaze perched atop a three-foot marble pedestal.
    The combined weight is 1,700 pounds, but the symbolic heft of the Frederick Douglass statue is much greater, as became clear Wednesday when the carving of the famed abolitionist and District advocate found its place inside the halls of Congress after years of delay and debate.
    More news about D.C. politics

    Frederick Douglass statue unveiled in the Capitol

    Frederick Douglass statue unveiled in the Capitol

    The famed abolitionist and District advocate’s carving finds its place after delay and debate.
    Before an audience that included Douglass’s descendants, national and local leaders, and representatives of the many places he called home, the first statue chosen to represent the District was unveiled at a ceremony filled with pageantry in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall.
    Of all the notable figures who have come to live in Washington, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said, “none before or since Douglass . . . has so joined his national prominence and philosophy with the aspirations of the people of the District of Columbia. . . .H e refused to separate his life in the District with the equality theme of his courageous life.”
    The statue’s arrival marked the culmination of a fight by Norton and others that has stretched over a decade. Fittingly for a city that has endured repeated frustration at the hands of Congress, Wednesday’s victory was only a partial one.
    While the 50 states have two statues apiece in the Capitol, the District was granted only one, as congressional Republicans objected to placing it on equal footing with the states. So a second completed statue, of architect Pierre L’Enfant, remains at One Judiciary Square and the District gets the same allotment as U.S. territories, despite the fact that — as local activists emphasize — Washingtonians pay federal income taxesand territorial residents do not.
    Some speakers Wednesday noted the irony that Douglass, a champion of D.C. voting rights and self-government, was being enshrined in a building where the city’s voice remains muffled.
    “We know that a single statue is not enough. . . . It is incumbent on all of us to right this wrong of history and afford the District of Columbia the voice it deserves,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). Her fellow Democrats onstage applauded her remarks, while House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sat in silence.
    The two Republicans also declined to clap when Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) declared that the District “deserves statehood” and said that he had signed on to co-sponsor statehood legislation. Vice President Biden did not mention statehood but said he and President Obama support “home rule, budget autonomy and a vote for the District of Columbia.”
    Although Republicans avoided talk of the District’s plight, Boehner praised Douglass as “an example for humanity that is unmatched,” while McConnell called him a great “leader of the Republican Party.” (Biden also joked that Douglass was “one of my favorite Republicans.”)
    And Nettie Washington Douglass, his great-great-granddaughter, said he “gave his spirit as a birthright to all of us.”