WILL FREDERICK DOUGLASS BE SNUBBED BY PARTISAN POLITICS?
Washington, DC – Will Congress allow acknowledgement to one of our nation’s greatest statesmen? Will justice be served to an abolitionist who dedicated his life to justice for all? Will the global activist be recognized for his military service and historical significance as the first African American vice presidential nominee? Or jettison US history in the current morass of partisan politics? A true embodiment of the “American dream”, Frederick Douglass rose from slavery to a life as a political leader and confidant to President Abraham Lincoln.
In 2007, a bronze statue of Frederick Douglass was presented to the United States Capitol as a gift on behalf of Washington, DC to add to their collection of prestigious state residents from across the nation. Created by local artist Steven Weitzman as commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the bronze sculpture was designed to represent the key Washingtonian and African American author, politician and civil rights leader.
On June 14th, 2012, in an important step forward, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a new bill that would allow Weitzman’s rendering of Douglass to join other American dignitaries in the United States’ Capitol National Statuary Hall. Advocated by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and supported by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.); the measure has support from both House and Senate members.
The placement of Douglass in the Capitol will be significant for a number of reasons. If the bill is passed, Douglass will be the fourth African American in the Capitol- joining Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth. As a former resident of the nation’s capital, the city where the first African American president currently resides – Douglass’ inclusion would be more than appropriate as evidence to substantiate that we are living in an era of equality. It would help show that the representation of Black luminaries is seen as important and that the rights of the District of Columbia are moving forward. However, the bill will only pass and the right to have Douglass displayed, with full approval through Congress.
Frederick Douglass is firmly weaved in the history of America – as his accomplishments make up the fabric of this country as are the other American citizens honored in the Nation’s Capitol. Letters and calls to Congress, rallying behind the vote regarding the bill – may be the actions needed to ensure this event happens. Congresswoman Norton, Senator Schumer and other members of Congress, will continue to campaign and encourage others to join the campaign to fight for the rights of Douglass, D.C. and African American history. Close to 200 years after the birth of Frederick Douglass, the honorable statesman deserves his place in the nation’s capital.
For more information about the artist or the bill, please visit:
For more information contact:
Rita D. Lewis
Weitzman Studios, Inc.