House Of Representatives Votes To Remove All Confederate Statues From US Capitol
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require the removal of all confederate statues from the US Capitol.
The bill was passed by a vote of 305-113, voted for by all Democrats as well as 72 Republicans and one independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. The 113 votes against the bill were all from Republicans.
States will now be required to remove any statues that honour members of the Confederacy in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol, replacing them with less controversial historical figures.
A specific timeline has not yet been established for the removal of the majority of the statues in question. However, three specific statues will be removed 30 days after the bill is enacted.
These particular statues bear the likeness of Charles Brantley Aycock, John Caldwell Calhoun and James Paul Clarke, men who defended slavery and segregation.
According to the new legislation, ‘persons who served as an officer or voluntarily with the Confederate States of America or of the military forces or government of a State while the State was in rebellion against the United States’ will now be prohibited from the collection.
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., described this legislation as being a way of honouring the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, who served in the House of Representatives from 1987 up until his death in July 2020 at the age of 80, USA Today reports.
Speaking about Rep. Lewis’ legacy, Rep. Bass said:
What he fought for every day is the exact opposite of these symbols. Personally, as a Black lawmaker, the presence of these statues represents an acceptance of white supremacy and racism.
Rep Jim Clyburn of South Carolina spoke out against those arguing statues should be viewed for their historical significance, NPRreports.
When people say these are symbols of heritage and not hate, I say to them: ‘Hate is a heritage, depending on what side of history you were on.
Rep Clyburn also stated he disagreed with the act of tearing down statues during protests, arguing that such artefacts should be preserved in museums to allow for a proper perspective.
This bill will still require approval in the Senate, which is controlled by the Republican party, and there could well be some challenges ahead.
President Trump, who has previously expressed strong views against taking down historical statues, will be required to sign the bill before it becomes law.
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