Congress Votes To Replace Confederate Art From Capitol Building That Was Built By Slaves

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The U.S. Supreme Court used to be held in the Capitol Building before its own building was erected. It is a small room that found many uses, everything from a library to a storage room. Then, it was restored to its original look with a statue of arguably the worst Supreme Court Justice in our American history. A man owned a slave in Missouri then moved to a free region, the Territory of Wisconsin, then back to the show-me state. After he died, the family would not release their slave, Dred Scott, even after he offered to buy his freedom. So he was the first slave to ever sue.

Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote the terrible Dred Scott Decision in 1857 declaring that since he was Black, the man was not a citizen. Therefore in his flawed thinking, Scott could not sue. Arguably, he fired the first shot of injustice that began the Civil War. His bust has hung above the door in that original Supreme Courtroom. It was long past due to have his likeness removed.

The House of Representatives passed a bill to remove the artwork from the nation’s Capitol Building, including that bust of the justice responsible for the Dred Scott Decision:

‘[Remove it] from the Capitol that honors people with legacies of defending slavery, including by serving the Confederacy.’

Taney wrote in his opinion, according to PBS:

‘Referring to the language in the Declaration of Independence that includes the phrase, “all men are created equal,” it is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration. . . .’

The Republicans were split on the bill when it passed 285 to120.  In a bipartisan effort, 67 Republicans voted with the Democrats, but 120 voted against it. There were 147 Republicans who voted to hand the 2020 election back to Donald Trump, an interesting comparison.

Primary author of the bill House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) argued:

‘We ought not to forget history. We must learn from history. But we ought not to honor that which defiled the principles for which we think we stand the bill’s primary author. It’s time to remove those symbols of slavery, segregation, and sedition from these halls.’

Representative Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said:

‘Unfortunately, Democrats, animated by the Critical Race Theory concepts of structural racism, microaggressions, and a United States based solely on white supremacy, have chosen to remove statues that underscore the failures of our pre-1861 Constitution. Make no mistake, those who won the West and George Washington are next.’

The very controversial Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) as usual tried to vacuum up all the attention she could by labeling the legislation a “power grab:”

‘All the tyrants throughout history tear down statues and attempt to erase history in order to reign with an iron fist.’

Former Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chair Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) noted that her “ancestors built this building:”

‘My ancestors built this building. Imagine how they would feel knowing that more than 100 years after slavery was abolished in this country, we still paid homage to the very people that betrayed this country in order to keep my ancestors enslaved.’

The recommendation was to place the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s likeness in the room instead, as History.com described him. Bass continued:

‘Imagine how I feel and other African Americans and people of color feel walking through Statuary Hall and knowing that there are monuments to people who supported and embraced and fight for the break-up of our country.’

Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) commented:

‘This bill naming statues that are in the process of being replaced is nothing more than what I believe is an attempt by Democrats to prematurely thwart the authority of states in order to claim the moral high ground for themselves.’

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