House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called for the removal of Confederate monuments from the National Statuary Hall collection at the U.S. Capitol.
“The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who chairs the Joint Committee on the Library, and vice-chairperson of the committee California Representative Zoe Lofgren. “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to those ideals.”
She added: “Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.”
There are 11 Confederate monuments on display in the Capitol. Among the statues are representations of Confederate States of America Jefferson Davis and his Vice President, Alexander Stephens. Both men were accused of treason after the end of the Civil War.
Criticism against Confederate monuments has intensified in the wake of the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody. For many, the statues represent an all-too long era of racial injustice furthered by the police brutality that has claimed the lives of Floyd and multiple black people over many decades.