GA delegation asks governor to replace Confederate statue with one of John Lewis at U.S. Capitol

GA delegation asks governor to replace Confederate statue with one of John Lewis at U.S. Capitol
FILE PHOTO: In this Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007, file photo, with the Capitol Dome in the background, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File) (Lawrence Jackson/AP)

Several members of Georgia’s delegation sent letters to Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, asking them to replace a Confederate statue at the U.S. Capitol with one of Rep. John Lewis.

The letters came on the same day as Lewis was laid to rest in Atlanta. He died nearly two weeks ago following a battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer.

The National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol allows each state to display two statues in the U.S. Capitol complex.

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Currently, one of Georgia’s statues is that of Alexander H. Stephens, who served as the vice president of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, and later as the 50th Governor of Georgia from 1882 until his death in 1883.

The letters from the Georgia delegation suggest the statue of Stephens should be replaced with one of Lewis.

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“John Lewis’ commitment to non-violence in the pursuit of justice for all inspired millions across Georgia, America, and the world. Because of the life and activism of John Lewis, America is more fair, more just, and more kind. There is no better Georgian we could choose to represent our state in our nation’s Capitol than our beloved friend, colleague, and hero, John Robert Lewis,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop.

On Wednesday, Kemp showed his support for the move in a tweet, saying: “By putting his statue in the U.S. Capitol, we can celebrate his legacy of service for years to come.”

“Our nation lost a giant, and it’s up to us to work together so that John’s fight for justice and equality continues. I was glad to see Gov. Kemp signal yesterday that he agrees that John’s legacy should be honored in our nation’s Capital for generations to come,” said Rep. Tom Graves.

Since 2000, Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio have each replaced one of their original statues, and North Carolina has recently discussed replacing one of theirs with the late evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham.

Restrictions from COVID-19 did not stop people from celebrating life of Rep. John Lewis