Harriet Tubman's Campaign for the Capitol - NBC4 Washington

Harriet Tubman's Campaign for the Capitol



    Harriet Tubman's Campaign for the Capitol
    Dan Snyder would be a perfect fit.

    In the Capitol building, marble and bronze statues of George Washington, Daniel Webster, and Brigham Young stand silent watch over the halls of power.  Each state in the Union is allowed to contribute 2 statues to the collection, representing notable figures from history.

    Of the 100 statues in the hall, there are only nine women, and no African-Americans. 

    This is "basically a white male view of history," Linda Mahoney, president of the Md. chapter of the National Organization of Women, told the Washington Post.

    A new bill to be considered in Maryland legislature this week aims to change that.  Two women's advocacy groups, Equal Visibility Everywhere and the Maryland chapter of the National Organization for Women, have lobbied Annapolis politicians to replace one of the current statues with one of Harriet Tubman.  The bill has the support of Governor Martin O'Malley.

    Maryland's delegation to the Capital's statue collection is now comprised of Charles Carroll and John Hanson.  Carroll was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a wealthy landowner, and a Catholic.  Hanson served for a year, in  1781, as the President of the United States in Congress Assembled, under the Articles of Confederation.

    The proposed bill would replace Hanson with former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman.  Tubman, raised in Dorchester County, was a supporter of women's suffrage later in life.

    The proposed statuary roster swap has sparked debate.  The president of the Maryland Senate, Thomas V. Miller Jr., told a group of constituents in Charlton Heston - like terms that he would fight to keep the statue of Hanson at the Capital.

    "It will be over my cold, dead body before they take that statue," Miller said, the Frederick News-Post reported

    Miller spoke in more tempered terms to the Post.  "She (Tubman) is a hero who belongs to the whole United States, not just the state of Maryland."

    Mahoney, of NOW, said, "It's time to update Maryland's representation in National Statuary Hall and take a different look at history."

    Originally, the state's submissions to statuary hall were meant to be permanent, but in 2000, Congress allowed for changes to be made.

    "I don't want to use the word redundant, but we have two Revolutionary political leaders representing Maryland," said Kenneth Cohen, an assistant professor of history at St. Mary's college, to the Post. "You wonder if there were great Marylanders who did anything apart from the Revolution."