The ongoing debate about statues and memorials of the Civil War era, especially of Confederates, has recently been focused on Statuary Hall. That area within the U.S. Capitol building is the home of, among other things, two statues from each state and the District of Columbia. Each state is permitted to choose its subjects, and there have been some changes over time. Recent years have seen growing interest in replacing some of the statues of Confederate leaders, and even one of the Union generals is on the verge of being removed.
There are more Confederate military men than Union in this particular group. On the Confederate side are: Robert E. Lee (Virginia); Edmund Kirby Smith (Florida); Joe Wheeler (Alabama); James Z. George (Mississippi); Zebulon Vance (North Carolina); and Wade Hampton (South Carolina). Some would say Jefferson Davis (Mississippi) belongs in this group as commander in chief of the Confederacy.
On the Union side are : Lew Wallace (Indiana); James A. Garfield (Ohio); and Philip Kearny (New Jersey).
This is the latest status about replacements of these men :
- Helen Keller replaced Jabez Curry, yet another Confederate military man, as one of Alabama’s two representatives in 2009.
- Mary McLeod Bethune is scheduled to replace Smith as one of Florida’s representatives.
- Alice Paul has been proposed by the New Jersey legislature to replace Kearny.
(Johnny Cash is scheduled to replace Uriah Milton Rose as one of Arkansas’s representatives, but Rose held no military position during the war, though he was an avowed Confederate supporter;
Billy Graham is being considered to replace Charles Aycock of North Carolina, who was born in 1859, but as Governor (1901-5) supported legislation ending black suffrage.)
The procedures for replacing a statue can be found at the link below. I think we can count on more efforts to make changes and, inevitably, more controversy in the days ahead.
Click to access statue_replacement_guidelines_2014.pdf
Below are images of the statues of Lee, Davis, Garfield, and Kearny