On this day just last year, President Obama signed legislation H.R. 6336 to have a statue of Frederick Douglass sent to Emancipation Hall. The statue represents the District of Columbia. Each state is allowed two statues to represent at our nation’s capitol in the halls of Congress. The district was only allowed one, since it is not technically a state. It was a triumph for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who had been pushing to move the statue that had been housed at One Judiciary Square (a government building) for years.
The Frederick Douglass piece was made in 2007. That was the same year the building was officially named “Emancipation Hall” in honor of the slaves who helped build the Capitol. The statue stands seven feet tall and weighs 1,700 pounds.
The statue of Frederick Douglass will be the third African American figure to be housed in Emancipation Hall, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sojourner Truth. Overall, there are 180 statues located at the U.S. Capitol.
The Douglass statue was created by Steven Weitzman of Maryland and depicts the abolitionist standing next to a lectern while clutching a piece of paper.
The movement of the Douglass bust is also a win for D.C. Each state has two statues in the Capitol and the District has been waiting for their turn. Frederick Douglass was a resident of Washington D.C. and served as the city’s first Recorder of Deeds.