There are currently 11 statues that commemorate members of the confederacy in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called for the removal of these statues and some states have already been in the process of removing theirs. One obstacle is that these statues were sent as gifts from individual states that choose who they believe are the most deserving deceased individuals to represent them in The Capitol. The state of Florida and Arkansas have already chosen who will replace the confederate individuals and they will be included in the list below. Nevertheless, I chose the rest of the individuals based on their historical impact and how they could bring in to light the diverse group of people who helped shaped this nation for the better.
There are some individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who would have been great choices but their likeness is already placed permanently through Congress, therefore others had to be considered. Some of the individuals are musicians, activists, authors, actors, veterans, an athlete, and even a first lady. These are their stories and why I believe they are more deserving to be honored than those who helped the confederacy.
Alabama: Harper Lee
To replace Joseph Wheeler will be Harper Lee. She is the author of the highly acclaimed novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" which describes the deep cuts of racism through the eyes of a little girl whos father is defending a black man from false allegations of rape. Her novel became one of the most read books in the nation, highlighting to the toxicity of racism and how embedded it is in our society. Lee has been presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and her second book "Go Set a Watchman" was published posthumously.
Arkansas: Daisy Lee Gatson Bates
To replace Uriah Milton Rose would be activist and journalist Daisy Lee Gatson Bates. She served as President of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She is most notably known as the one who organized the Little Rock Nine in 1957 where she picked nine students to attend Central High School in order to integrate the school as a result of the 1954 Supreme Court hearing that made segregated schools unconstitutional. She continued her work in activism for civil rights and is a hero to many Americans for her courage and determination. Bates along with country legend Johny Cash is set to replace both state statues that are represented on Capitol Hill in for the state of Arkansas authorized by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Florida: Mary McLeod Bethune
To replace Edmund Kirby Smith is educator and government official Mary McLeod Bethune. As an educator, she created the Bethune-Cookman College by merging her own all-girls school of Daytona Beach Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls and an all-boys Cookman Institute school. She became the highest-ranking African American woman in government under the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt as the director of the Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration. Bethune has already been signed by the Florida legislature and former Gov. Rick Scott to replace Smith and recently Gov. Ron DeSantis has wanted to expedite that process so she can be placed as soon as possible.
Georgia: Jackie Robinson
To replace Alexander Hamilton Stephens would-be baseball player and veteran Jackie Robinson. Robison was the first African American to be a professional baseball player in the Major Leauge Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. He paved the way to introduce the integration of black sports players to the mainstream sporting world instead of staying remotely in the Black-only teams and organizations. In 1947 he won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award and was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons.
Before he joined baseball he served in the United States Army where he suffered purely as a result of the color of his skin. However, he demanded equality and he said his experience in the military helped him with the backlash when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. His contribution to this country should be commemorated directly in Washington D.C.
North Carolina: Dolley Madison
To replace Zebulon Baird Vance would be former First Lady Dolley Madison. She was the wife of James Madison, which served as the fourth President of the United States of America. Her heroic act came during the War of 1812 when the British forces captured Washing D.C and burnt most of it to the ground. As the enemies were approaching she was one of the last people to leave, taking command of her own situation and went around to save the famous Gilbert Stuart painting of George Washington and a copy of the Declaration of Independence. If a statue was erected for her in the Capitol Building, it would join her husband's permanent statue.
Louisiana: Louis Armstrong
To replace Edward Douglass White would be music artist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong. Armstrong grew up in the city of New Orleans where he learned music from musician Joe "King" Oliver and Peter Davis. Becoming influenced by jazz, Armstrong became known for his scat singing and his creation of melodies that in turn made him a huge influencer in the jazz community. He is known as one of the first African-Americans to transcend the racial divide in music and took his status to help activists of civil rights such as during the Little Rock Nine. He won a Grammy for his performance of "Hello, Dolly!" in 1964, and his song "What a Wonderful World" has become a household classic for all Americans.
Mississippi: Medgar Wiley Evers
To replace Jefferson Davis would be civil rights activist and veteran Medgar Wiley Evers. Evers served in the United States Army during World War II. Hse later became a state's field secretary for the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for the state of Mississippi. His activism including the end segregation of public facilities, along with expanding voting rights for African Americans. Unfortunately, he was assassinated in 1963 due to his civil rights work by a white supremacist. His death caused wide-scale protests throughout the country and his murders went free after an all-white jury found them not guilty. A statue is already placed in Mississippi in his honor and it would be fitting to replace this American hero with the President of an enemy nation.
Mississippi: Elvis Presley
To replace James Zachariah George would be music artist and veteran Elvis Presley. Presley in 1956 earned a No. 1 single with "Heartbreak Hotel," along with his first No. 1 album, Elvis Presley, and signed a movie contract with Paramount Pictures. Later he served in the United States Army in 1957 after a draft notice and served in Germany. He helped popularize rock 'n' roll in the United States and throughout the world. He became a worldwide superstar and won three Grammys for his gospel music with "How Great Thou Art," "He Touched Me" and a live recording of "How Great Thou Art." He helped influence country music, rock music, and gospel music, along with extrinsic dance moves.
South Carolina: Robert Smalls
To replace Wade Hampton III would be veteran war hero Robert Smalls. Smalls used to be a slave in the South until he escaped and joined the United States Navy. He originally was put as a deckhand for the confederate ship, Planter. It was there where he learned how to navigate and sail a ship. Using these skills he along with other crew members and his family stole the ship while the white crew was partying on the mainland. On the ship was valuable information and weaponry that helped in defeating the confederate naval fleet. Once President Abraham Lincoln heard about Smalls's heroic duty it helped him be convinced in adding freed African Americans in the Union Army. Smalls served as captain of many ships helping take town confederate ships all over the coast of South Carolina. He later served in both the state senate and state house along with later serving as a member of Congress. In my opinion, his name should be used for a naval base to honor his heroic duty to our nation.
Virginia: Ella Fitzgerald
To replace Robert E. Lee Vance would be music artist Ella Fitzgerald. Fitgerald started her musical career at the Apollo Theater in 1934. She later would become the first African American woman to win a Grammy Award in 1958. In her lifetime should win thirteen Grammys and sell more than 40 million albums. Her remarkable voice helped her become the top female jazz performer for decades. Recording more than 200 albums she earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement. Having her replace the head general of the confederacy would be great.
West Virginia: Don Knotts
To replace John Kenna would be actor and veteran Don Knotts. Knotts is known for playing Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffin Show" which earned him five Emmy Awards. In the 1940s Don Knotts went off to serve in the United States Army to defend our nation in World War II. He was a ventriloquist and performed in many schools and churches. In his most famous role as Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife, it was known as one of the funniest characters on television. Later he went on the films "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" and on the serial "Three's Company." A statue is already in place at his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia.
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The confederate statues should be removed from the Capitol as it is a place that should honor those who contributed to helping the United States, not fight against it. However, the statues that are to be removed should be placed in a museum as it is our duty as Americans to remember our history, both the good and the bad. I hope those states who have not found individuals to replace the confederates, chose individuals who helped this nation flourish, individuals like those listed above.