On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of eleven Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol explaining that the statues, “pay homage to hate, not heritage.”
The statues represent the soldiers and officers who served in the Confederate Army, which lost in the U.S. Civil War. Amongst the statues are ones of Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, who served as president and vice president of the Confederacy, and both of whom were charged with treason.
In her letter to the chairs of the Joint Committee on the Library – Senator Roy Blunt and Representative Zoe Lofgren – Pelosi explained that the statues in the Capitol “should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation.”
The letter continues, “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.”
“While I believe it is imperative that we never forget our history lest we repeat it, I believe that there is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” Pelosi added.
Currently, one hundred statues, two from each state, are in the National Statuary Hall Collection, either on display in the hall or throughout the Capitol.
The statues in the hall are of deceased persons that are “illustrious for historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services.”
In a statement, Lofgren explained that she agrees with Pelosi’s demand for the removal of the statues. “Indeed, what the Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection represent is anathema to who we are as a Congress and a country,” she said.
This is not the first time that Speaker Pelosi has demanded the removal of the Confederate statues. In 2017, after the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Pelosi called for the removal of the statues.
Pelosi’s demand on Wednesday comes in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which has sparked protests across the country against racism and police brutality.