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How you can nominate new honoree to replace Lee statue at U.S. Capitol

Robert E. Lee from National Statuary Hall.jpg
Posted at 1:26 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 13:28:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Commission for Historical Statues in the U.S. Capitol is asking Virginians to voice their opinion on who the state should honor after a statue of Robert E. Lee is replaced at the U.S. Capitol.

The commission decided to solicit the public for proposed honorees for a new statue during its most recent public meeting on October 8.

The commission is particularly interested in hearing proposals from Virginia students.

The new statue will complement one of George Washington. This comes after the commission voted unanimously in July to take down the Lee statue and replace it with a to-be-determined Virginian.

Suggestions for a new historical figure to represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol must conform to criteria established by the office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol.

That criteria requires:

⦁ That the person honored by a statue be deceased
⦁ Be illustrious for historic renown or for distinguished civic or military service
⦁ Represent only one individual.
⦁ Requires that the person was a U.S. citizen (Exceptions are made for an indigenous person who resided in the present-day U.S.)

Additional values and attributes include:

⦁ The historical person must be associated with significant events that changed the course of history or with significant ideals, writings or concepts.
⦁ Someone renowned for exemplary valor, patriotism, and bravery.
⦁ The person should be one whose primary historical significance ties her or him directly to Virginia. Or the person should have spent the majority of his or her life residing in the commonwealth.
⦁ Suggested honorees should represent current prevailing values, according to the commission’s criteria.

To date, the commission has received 45 names.

These include Pocahontas and several others:

⦁ George C. Marshall, a graduate of Virginia Military Institute who is credited as U.S. Secretary of State with creating the “Marshall Plan” that rebuilt Europe after World War II;

⦁ Dr. Robert Russa Moton, an Amelia County native and nationally esteemed African American educator who served as an administrator at Hampton Institute (today’s Hampton University), and principal at the Tuskegee Institute beginning in 1915; and

⦁ Booker T. Washington, a native of Franklin County, who founded the Tuskegee Institute and advocated during segregation for improved opportunities for Blacks in education and business.

Students and others Virginians should submit their suggestions by email to USCapitolCommission@dhr.virginia.gov or by mail to the US Capitol Commission, Department of Historic Resources, 2801 Kensington Ave., Richmond, VA 23221.

The deadline for submitting a name for the new statue is November 27.

After the deadline, the commission will research the suggestions to determine which historical figures best represent the values and attributes.

The commission will narrow the proposed candidates for the statue to a list of five.

At a public hearing in December, the commission will select one name from the list of five to recommend to the General Assembly for approval.