The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to remove all Confederate statues from public display in the U.S. Capitol, along with replacing the bust of former Chief Justice of the United States Roger Taney, author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that declared that people of African descent were not U.S. citizens, reports NPR.
The House passed the measure 285-120. All Democratic members supported the legislation; all ‘no’ votes came from Republican members.
“My ancestors built this building,” Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said in passionate remarks on the House floor ahead of the vote. “Imagine how they would feel, knowing that more than 100 years after slavery was abolished in this country, we still paid homage to the very people that betrayed this country in order to keep my ancestors enslaved.”
The legislation would direct the architect of the Capitol to identify and remove all statues and busts that depict members of the Confederacy from public display within 45 days of the resolution’s enactment. Any removed statue that was provided to the Capitol by a state would be returned to the state, which could then elect to replace it with another honoree.
Among the Confederate statues, there is a statue of of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, displayed in Statuary Hall.
The bill also specifically mentions the removal of statues of Charles Brantley Aycock, John Caldwell Calhoun and James Paul Clarke — three men who defended slavery and segregation.
“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on the floor ahead of the vote. “The statues that we display should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation. Monuments to men, or people who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to those ideals.”