The state’s junior senator, Democrat Chris Van Hollen, said at a recent hearing that his staff has been working with the Architect of the Capitol to plan for the creation and donation of the sculpture.
Calling Tubman a “great Marylander and a great American,” Van Hollen asked Stephen Ayers, the architect of the Capitol, to work with him on plans to bring the statue idea to fruition.
Van Hollen introduced legislation in February, along with the state’s other Democratic senator, Benjamin L. Cardin, to direct the Joint Committee on the Library to accept the statue.
“Harriet Tubman is an American hero, and it is an important way to honor her incredible contributions to our nation’s history by installing a statue reflecting her work in the U.S. Capitol,” Van Hollen said in a February statement announcing the bill. “She was tireless in her pursuit of freedom and protection of human rights, and she represents the best in Maryland and the nation.”
Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Md., and escaped slavery in 1849. She dedicated her life to helping other slaves reach freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Efforts to place a Tubman statue in the U.S. Capitol started in 2012 when Maryland created the Harriet Tubman Statue Commission, a 10-person board responsible for raising private funds for the memorial and choosing the sculptor.
That didn’t happen without a debate, however, as the original plan called for the Tubman statue to replace one of the two existing…
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