Maryland’s U.S. senators have introduced legislation to remove the name of a segregationist former lawmaker from a prominent Washington-area traffic circle.
Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin said in a statement Tuesday that they are seeking to take Francis G. Newlands’ name off of a fountain and plaque at Chevy Chase Circle, which is on the border of Washington’s Chevy Chase neighborhood and Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“We should not be memorializing him and the deeply harmful policies he stood for — the legacies of which are still impacting marginalized communities to this day,” Van Hollen said.
The former U.S. senator from Nevada, who died in 1917, aimed to keep working-class, Black and Jewish families out of the Chevy Chase community that he helped develop, according to the statement. Newlands also called for the repeal of the 15th Amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote, and advocated for anti-immigrant policies.
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Chevy Chase Circle is managed by the National Park Service and therefore under federal jurisdiction. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s nonvoting member of Congress, previously introduced similar legislation in the House.
The land development company that Newlands founded and the Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers have both expressed support for removing the name.