The Cash and Bates statues will replace existing Confederate statues that represent the state in the U.S. Capitol. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that more than $500,000 in private donations have been raised for the new statues. However, the governor said they are only halfway to their goal of $1 million. In fact, he says $1 million is the estimate for the creation of the two statues, including their transportation to Washington D.C.
Additionally, Hutchinson announced a new website through the Arkansas Heritage Foundation where donors can contribute to the statues’ fundraiser.
In April 2019, lawmakers voted to replace Arkansas’ existing statues with new ones of Bates and Cash. The current statues depict former Arkansas Gov. James P. Clarke and attorney Uriah Rose, who both defended the Confederacy.
One of the Confederate statues will be replaced with a new statue of Bates, a civil rights activist and writer. She is well-known in Arkansas for her activism, in addition, to her mentoring the nine black children who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
A new statue of legendary country singer Johnny Cash will replace the other Confederate statue. The musician grew up in Dyess, which is about 131 miles northeast of Little Rock. Cash went on to become one of the most influential and famous country artists of all time.
Cash and Bates Statues Partially Funded by Walmart
In July, Walmart donated $100,000 towards the fundraiser for Arkansas’ new Cash and Bates statues at the U.S. Capitol. The donation followed months of civil unrest and protests over multiple killings by police, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In 1962, Walmart opened its first stores in Arkansas and its corporate headquarters remains in Bentonville, AR.
“We support the effort by the state legislature and Governor Hutchinson to honor two prominent Arkansans, civil rights pioneer Daisy Bates and music legend Johnny Cash, with statues in National Statuary Hall,” Walmart spokesperson Anne Hatfield said in a statement to ABC News. “We are pleased to support the state’s action with a gift to the Foundation for Arkansas Heritage and History to help make these new statues a reality.”