WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune will be installed in National Statuary Hall, replacing imagery of a racist Confederate leader. In 2021, the House passed HR 3005 requiring removal of every statue of individuals “who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America” from display in the Capitol. The resolution awaits Senate approval.
The following statement is from SPLC Action Fund Chief of Staff and Culture Lecia Brooks:
“The SPLC Action Fund welcomes the removal of another symbol of hate from the U.S. Capitol. Whether apologists for the Confederacy or the institution of slavery, uplifting men who are forever linked to racial terror and oppression sends the wrong message to both American and global visitors alike.
“Honoring civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune in National Statuary Hall is a fitting tribute to a Black woman who is the daughter of former slaves. She devoted her life to public service as an educator, as well as an advocate for public health, women’s rights, racial and gender equality, and voting rights. By serving as presidential advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Bethune dispelled racial stereotypes and attitudes reinforced during the Jim Crow era. We can all take pride in her achievements on behalf of Black Americans and women.
“But there is still work to do, as statues of men who voluntarily fought on behalf of the Confederacy remain in Statuary Hall. We call on Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to get on the right side of history by replacing these statues with someone that represents their state’s values of diversity, equality, and justice.
“We also ask the U.S. Senate – why is it taking so long to do what’s right? The SPLC Action Fund continues urging the Senate to pass HR 3005 and for President Joe Biden to promptly sign this legislation so that offensive statues littering the National Statuary Hall Collection can immediately be returned to their home states.”
In February 2022 the SPLC released the third edition of its Whose Heritage? report, data, and map, which tracks public symbols of the Confederacy across the United States. The report shows that more than 2,000 Confederate memorials are still publicly present in the U.S. and over 700 of those are monuments.