It is the 101st statue erected in the Capitol Visitors Center, but only the fourth in honor of an African-American. While each state has only two such famous figures in the hall, this is the first opportunity for D.C. to welcome one of its very own. Congressional Republicans have refused to allow a second, declining to give the federal District of Columbia equality with states.
“Douglass’ life as an active D.C. resident and his deep commitment to our equal rights are the reasons that his statue is here to be unveiled today as a gift from the almost 650,000 American citizens of the District of Columbia,” Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said in prepared remarks at the unveiling.
Placement of the statue marks the culmination of the decade-long argument between DC leaders and Congressional Republicans over whether DC should be allowed to have the statue since it is not a state, but a federal district.