ATLANTA (AP) — A statue of the late congressman and civil rights chief John Lewis might quickly exchange the likeness of Alexander Stephens, a slave proprietor and vp of the Confederacy, within the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol, below a bipartisan decision launched Wednesday within the Georgia House.
The push to drop Stephens in favor of Lewis, who served as a Georgia congressman for 33 years, comes amid nationwide soul-searching over celebrations of the Confederacy; dozens of Confederate statues fell throughout protests for racial justice over the spring and summer season.
The decision is sponsored by state Rep. Al Williams, a Democrat from Midway, and has the backing of Republican House Speaker David Ralston.
Prominent Georgia politicians on each side of the aisle endorsed the thought after Lewis’ demise in July, together with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. The majority of Georgia’s congressional delegation signed onto a letter asking Kemp, Ralston and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan to switch the statue of Stephens with one in every of Lewis.
“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,” U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop stated in a press release after Lewis’ demise. “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.”
Each state is represented by two statues within the U.S. Capitol constructing. Stephens has been on show as one in every of Georgia’s statues since 1927.
Stephens was a white supremacist who lived from 1812 to 1883. In addition to his position within the Confederacy, he served in Congress and was Georgia’s governor for 4 months earlier than his demise.
Lewis was initially from Alabama however made Atlanta his longtime house. He is probably greatest identified for main civil rights protesters within the 1965 Bloody Sunday march throughout the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, the place he had his cranium fractured by police.