The House approved legislation on Wednesday to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 305-113.
Not only does the bill mandate that statues of individuals who served in the Confederacy, but also those that defended slavery, segregation, and white supremacy, according to CNN. Three names that fit this description include John C. Calhoun, Charles Aycock, and James P. Clarke.
All House Democrats voted for the bill. Seventy-two Republicans joined them in supporting the legislation. While the statues caused controversy in years past, the urgency to address the matter reignited following the George Floyd protests.
A number of statues honoring Confederates currently stand throughout the Capitol. Two notable statues bear the likeness of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, and his vice president, Robert E. Lee.
House Representatives Speak Out on the Bill
Rep. Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, spoke out on the issue on Wednesday. “My ancestors built the Capitol, but yet there are monuments to the very people that enslaved my ancestors,” Rep. Bass says.
She continued by adding that the statues represent “an acceptance of white supremacy and racism, something we are fighting day in and day out to dismantle.”
Similarly, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) echoed Rep. Bass’ sentiments on the bill. “It’s past time that we end the glorification of men who committed treason against the United States in a concerted effort to keep African Americans in chains,” Rep. Lee says.
A number of states announced plans to further remove Confederate statues and replace them with other historical figures. In Florida, the state plans to replace the statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith with civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune. Furthermore, the state of Arkansas plans to swap controversial statues with one of country singer Johnny Cash and another of civil rights leader Daisy Bates.