racism

US House approves removing Confederate statues from Capitol

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
US House approves removing Confederate statues from Capitol

CONFEDERATE STATUES. Statues of James Zachariah George (L), a colonel in the Confederate Army and U.S. Senator from Mississippi, and Edmund Kirby Smith, a native Floridian and a Confederal general, stand inside the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. File photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

While the measure is approved 305-113 in a bipartisan vote in the House, where Democrats hold a majority, it still needs approval in the Senate, controlled by President Donald Trump's Republicans

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday, July 22, approved a measure removing from Capitol Hill statues of people who served in the Confederacy during the country’s bitter 19th century Civil War.

While the measure was approved 305-113 in a bipartisan vote in the House, where Democrats hold a majority, it still needs approval in the Senate, controlled by President Donald Trump’s Republicans.

Trump, who has strongly opposed taking down historical statues, would also need to sign the measure for it to become law.

The bill orders the removal from the US Capitol, where Congress is located, of statues of individuals who voluntarily served in the Confederacy.

During the 1861-65 Civil War several southern states tried to secede and form an independent slaveholding republic.

The measure would also remove the statues of 3 men who either supported slavery or white supremacy.

Activists and many African-Americans see Confederate battle flags and monuments to Confederates as symbols of racism, while others, especially white southerners, see them as symbols of heritage.

In mid-June the portraits of 4 senior 19th-century lawmakers who served in the Confederacy were removed from the US Capitol.

The paintings of the men, all former speakers of the House, were taken down at the order of current Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The US public has been increasingly grappling with the country’s legacy of racism and slavery since protests swept the nation following the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.

“My ancestors built the Capitol, but yet there are monuments to the very people that enslaved my ancestors,” said Representative Karen Bass from California, chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus.

These statues represent “an acceptance of white supremacy and racism,” she said. – Rappler.com