WASHINGTON -- Abolitionist and civil rights activist Frederick Douglass is preparing for a new home in the nation’s Capitol.
Or rather, the bronze statue honoring Douglass, one of D.C.’s most revered residents.
The statue, which currently stands in One Judiciary Square, will be moving to the U.S. Capitol Building, although its exact placement, as well as its move-in date, has yet to be determined.
A spokesperson for D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said the congresswoman hopes the statue will be placed in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
The National Statuary Hall, which houses a collection of notable historical figures from each of the 50 states, first began inviting states to display their most prominent citizens in statue form in 1864.
For some, including Norton, the inclusion of D.C. inside the Capitol -- and, more symbolically, potentially the National Statuary Hall -- is a significant step toward achieving statehood in a region known for “taxation without representation.”
Calling Douglass “the great Washingtonian and supporter of D.C. Rights,” Norton told D.C.’s ABC7 that the statue’s move “will help us spread the word that we do not have our full rights as a city, just as he lived his life doing that.”
Norton has also asked leaders in the Senate to dedicate the piece in February in honor of Black History Month.
After President Obama signed a bipartisan bill last September to relocate the statue, White House spokesman Kevin Lewis issued a statement commemorating Douglass, praising the former slave-turned-presidential adviser for advancing civil rights during the Civil War Era.
“Frederick Douglass, once a slave, rose up to become one of our nation’s great reformers in his fight for equality,” the statement read. “His statue at the Capitol, representing the District of Columbia, will add to the long legacy of dynamic African Americans who have displayed extraordinary leadership throughout history.”
If Douglass is placed in the National Statuary Hall, the historic orator will be in the same league as Andrew Jackson (Tenn.), Dwight D. Eisenhower (Kan.), George Washington (Va.), Helen Keller (Ala.), Sakakawea (N.D.) and Samuel Adams (Mass.), among many others.
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