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Schumer pushes for Douglass statue in D.C.


Frederick Douglass

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer on Thursday introduced a resolution to direct the Joint Committee on the Library to finally accept a statue of abolitionist hero Frederick Douglass for prominent display in the U.S. Capitol.

Schumer’s resolution would cut through legislative red tape that has left the statue of Douglass, completed by sculptor Steven Weitzman in 2007, in a government building a few blocks from the Capitol.

Currently, only two out of more than 180 statues and busts of prominent American figures on display in the Capitol portray African Americans. The Douglass statue depicts him on a pedestal engraved with a quote from a speech he delivered in 1857 in Canandaigua that reads: “Without struggle, there is no progress.”

“It’s inexcusable to let a statue of one of the greatest heroes in the history of our nation, and a proud resident of Rochester, collect cobwebs in a city government building less than a mile from the U.S. Capitol where it belongs,” Schumer said.

He said he would work to expedite transfer of the statute.

Born in 1818 in Maryland, Douglass escaped from slavery at around age 20 and lived in Massachusetts, Ireland and Britain before settling for 25 years in Rochester, from 1847-72. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.