July 29, 2020

Cardin, Van Hollen Continue Push to Bring Harriet Tubman Statue to U.S. Capitol Building

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) urged Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to support their legislation, which is cosponsored by Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), to bring a statue of Harriet Tubman to the U.S. Capitol Building in honor and recognition of her extraordinary life and service.

“Through the art in the Capitol, Congress makes powerful statements about our nation’s history and values. From the Statuary Hall collection to the ceilings of the Brumidi corridors, we tell the story of our nation. From time to time, Congress authorizes new additions to its collection, and in recent years has honored Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth,” write Senators Cardin and Van Hollen in today’s letter.

They continue, “Congress has an opportunity to recognize another of our nation’s heroes, Harriet Tubman. Through the course of her life, Tubman showed extraordinary courage – escaping slavery, leading others to freedom on the Underground Railroad, operating an espionage network to fight the Confederacy, tending to the wounded as an army nurse, and devoting her later years to women’s suffrage, the care of orphans, and the establishment of freedmen’s schools.” The Senators underscore the deep value of adding this statue, writing, “A statue of Harriet Tubman in our Capitol Building would be a powerful reminder to all visitors, from schoolchildren to foreign leaders, of the values she represents – strength, tenacity, equality, and compassion.” 

The Senators go on to note the statue will come at no cost to taxpayers but would be gifted through a Commission created by Marylanders and the state legislature for this purpose.

They conclude, “We appreciate that Ranking Member Klobuchar is an original cosponsor of S. 3423 to authorize acceptance of a Harriet Tubman statue, and hope that the Committee can work with us to pass this bill and bring this valuable new symbol into the Capitol collection. We look forward to the moment when Harriet Tubman is rightly recognized in these historic halls.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

Dear Chairman Blunt,

We are writing to request your support in passing S. 3423, which would bring a statue of Harriet Tubman to the Capitol Building in recognition of her extraordinary life and service to the nation.

Through the art in the Capitol, Congress makes powerful statements about our nation’s history and values. From the Statuary Hall collection to the ceilings of the Brumidi corridors, we tell the story of our nation. From time to time, Congress authorizes new additions to its collection, and in recent years has honored Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth.

Congress has an opportunity to recognize another of our nation’s heroes, Harriet Tubman. Through the course of her life, Tubman showed extraordinary courage – escaping slavery, leading others to freedom on the Underground Railroad, operating an espionage network to fight the Confederacy, tending to the wounded as an army nurse, and devoting her later years to women’s suffrage, the care of orphans, and the establishment of freedmen’s schools. A statue of Harriet Tubman in our Capitol Building would be a powerful reminder to all visitors, from schoolchildren to foreign leaders, of the values she represents – strength, tenacity, equality, and compassion. 

Because Harriet Tubman is a favorite daughter of Maryland, our state has passed legislation to facilitate the acquisition of a statue. They established the Harriet Tubman Statue Commission to work with the Joint Committee on the Library and Architect of the Capitol to raise private funds and procure a statue that is consistent with the art and architecture of the Capitol Building. Through this process, Congress would be gifted the statue at no cost to taxpayers.

We appreciate that Ranking Member Klobuchar is an original cosponsor of S. 3423 to authorize acceptance of a Harriet Tubman statue, and hope that the Committee can work with us to pass this bill and bring this valuable new symbol into the Capitol collection. We look forward to the moment when Harriet Tubman is rightly recognized in these historic halls.

Sincerely,

###