Wednesday June 30th 2021
Racist statues should leave the Capitol
The death of African American George Floyd in May 2020 sparked a debate about America’s culture of remembrance. Several statues of Confederate generals are overthrown by protesters. The Democrats now also want to remove busts that are considered racist from the Capitol.
The US House of Representatives has voted for a bill to remove several statues believed to be racist from the congress building. 67 Republicans also supported the Democratic initiative, which was approved by 285 to 120 votes. Among other things, it provides for the bust of the former Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (1777-1864) to be removed from the Capitol in Washington.
In 1857 he defended slavery in the process known as the “Dred Scott” trial and ruled that blacks could never become US citizens. The proposal now goes to the Senate. The bill calls for the removal from the Capitol of all statues of people who have voluntarily served in the Confederate States of America. The Confederates had fought against the north in the civil war (1861-1865) and campaigned against the abolition of slavery and against more rights for blacks.
Taney’s marble bust is to be replaced with that of Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993), who became the first Black Supreme Court judge. A similar initiative had already been passed by the House of Representatives during President Donald Trump’s term of office last year, but then got stuck in the Senate, which was then dominated by the Republicans. Now President Joe Biden’s Democrats have a majority in both houses of the US Congress. However, this is so thin in the Senate that Republicans can block legislative proposals. The Democrats still hope to get the law through.
The protests against racism and police violence after the death of the African American George Floyd in a brutal police operation in May 2020 and other similar incidents had sparked a debate in the United States about the country’s culture of remembrance. In December, a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from the seat of the US Congress.