Mississippi statues among those that would be removed.
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives again voted (285-120) on a measure that would remove statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in the United States Capitol. A similar action was taken by the House last year but was stalled in the Senate. This time, with Democrats now in the majority in the upper chamber, prospects of its passage are better.
The process for removing or changing states’ statues displayed in the U.S. Capitol already exists, and the authority is granted to state legislatures to make these decisions.
Mississippi currently has the statues of Jefferson Davis and James Z. George in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
The House bill – HR 3005 – also directs the Joint Committee on the Library to replace the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the United States Capitol with a bust of Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first black Justice. Taney was Chief Justice when the Dred Scott decision in March 1857 declared that black Americans were not citizens of the United States and could not sue in Federal courts. The decision further declared that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories.
Mississippi Democrat Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-2) voted in favor of the measure, tweeting, “Statues of those who served in the Confederacy or supported slavery or segregation should not have a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol – that’s why I voted to Remove Hate today.”
Statues of those who served in the Confederacy or supported slavery or segregation should not have a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol – that’s why I voted to #RemoveHate today. pic.twitter.com/f8TdOgEhbk
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) June 29, 2021
Republican Congressmen Trent Kelly (MS-1) and Steven Palazzo (MS-4) voted no.
Congressman Michael Guest (MS-3) was delayed in his return this week to Washington, D.C., following the passing of a close family member. As a result, he was unable to cast his vote. However, he did send a statement opposing the legislation as he did last year.
“I would be opposed to the federal government ordering or dictating Mississippi to remove those statues,” Guest said in an interview.