Lawmakers introduce measure to replace Confederate statue at U.S. Capitol with statue of John Lewis

Lawmakers introduce measure to replace Confederate statue at U.S. Capitol with statue of John Lewis
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)

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers have introduced a bi-partisan measure to replace a statue of a Confederate leader and white supremacist in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol with a statue of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

Georgia currently has two designated monuments to represent Georgia at the U.S. Capitol. One is of Georgia surgeon Crawford Long.

The other is a likeness of Alexander Stephens, who was the Vice President of the Confederate States during the Civil War.

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The measure was sponsored by state Rep. Al Williams (D) and House Speaker David Ralston (B) as well as other lawmakers. It was introduced Wednesday and will require Gov. Brian Kemp’s approval. The measure is expected to easily pass in the General Assembly.

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“John Lewis was a distinguished Georgian who passionately opposed hatred and discrimination, led in the Civil Rights Movement that changed the course of history by bringing about the passage of civil rights legislation, and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts to create a just society and his years 15 of public service,” lawmakers wrote.

Ralston expressed support for the swap after Lewis died on July 17.

“I like the idea very much,” Ralston said then. “I always admired Congressman Lewis and told him so many times. Georgia has a long history, so much more than just the Civil War, and John Lewis has been an important part of that.”

Stephens has represented Georgia in Statuary Hall since 1927. In a speech Stephens made in 1861, he said that slavery was the “natural and normal condition” of black people.

There is also a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in Statuary Hall, but it isn’t one of the two statues designated to represent the state.