DC delegate proposes removing Andrew Jackson statue from Lafayette Square

DC delegate proposes removing Andrew Jackson statue from Lafayette Square
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Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonHopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' DeJoy defends Postal Service changes at combative House hearing MORE (D), Washington, D.C.’s representative in the House, will introduce legislation next week to remove the statue of Andrew Jackson from Lafayette Square right outside of the White House.

Norton announced the proposal one day after protesters tried toppling Jackson’s statue before being dispersed by law enforcement. The statue is one of numerous figures targeted for removal by protesters across the country in recent days.

In announcing her bill, Norton underscored Jackson’s role in forcefully relocating thousands of Native Americans during his time as president and his position as a slave owner, saying such a man should not be honored so close to the seat of power in the U.S. 

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“Lafayette Park itself has a painful past as a slave market. The statue of Andrew Jackson, who himself enslaved African Americans, compounds this insult,” Norton said in a statement.

“This prominent location in the nation’s capital, right outside of the White House, should never have honored a man who owned slaves and was responsible for the deaths of roughly 4,000 Native Americans. Jackson’s entire tenure is a shameful part of our history, and I will see to it that he is no longer honored with a statue in Lafayette Park.”

Norton said that she will speak with the National Park Service (NPS), which oversees the park, to see if it would have the authority to remove the statue without an act of Congress, adding she would drop her bill if it does.

“I believe this statue should be preserved and placed in a museum, not displayed prominently in the nation’s capital. The next generation can learn from this painful chapter in our history without celebrating it,” she said.

Monuments honoring figures from the Confederacy and other periods have been removed by protesters and state and local governments alike amid civil unrest over systemic racism and police brutality that was sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. 

Norton has also said she will seek to remove the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park in Washington, which shows Abraham Lincoln standing over a freed African American slave who is on one knee looking up.

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“The designers of the Emancipation Statue in Lincoln Park in DC didn’t take into account the views of African Americans. It shows. Blacks too fought to end enslavement. That’s why I’m introducing a bill to move this statue to a museum,” she tweeted Tuesday.