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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

DHR Announces Next Meeting of the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol

—Commission to meet virtually on Tuesday, Nov. 17, starting at 9 a.m.—

—To attend the meeting, a person must register online; to speak during the public hearing, a person must register online by no later than 5 p.m., November 16—

The Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol will hold its next public hearing on November 17. The commission will convene virtually at 9:00 a.m., and expects the meeting to last several hours. In order to attend or speak at the public hearing, a person must register on the Webex platform the commission uses for its online meetings.

During the public hearing, the commission will receive suggestions for a historical person to represent Virginia in a new statue to replace the one of Robert E. Lee in the U.S. Capitol.

The proposed historical figure for the statue must conform to the following criteria established by the Office of the Architect of the U.S. Capitol. The person must be:

  • Deceased
  • Illustrious for historic renown or for distinguished civic or military service,
  • Representative of only one individual, and
  • A U.S. citizen, to include an indigenous person who resided in the present-day U.S.

The Commission has also added the following additional criteria. The person should be:

  • Associated with significant events that changed the course of history or with significant ideals, writing, or concepts
  • Renowned for exemplary valor, patriotism, and bravery
  • One whose primary historical significance ties her or him directly to Virginia, or is a person who has spent the majority of her or his life residing in the Commonwealth, and
  • Representative of current prevailing values.

Persons interested in attending the virtual public hearing must register at the following link: https://bit.ly/36k5YUz.  Alternatively, people can visit the website of Virginia Department of Historic Resources (www.dhr.virginia.gov) to register.

On the DHR homepage under “Announcements” is one for the November 17 meeting and a link for people to register to attend or speak at the public hearing. Each participant must register separately. After registering, a person receives an email message with a link and telephone number to enter the virtual meeting. Registration to attend the public hearing will remain open throughout the duration of the hearing.

To speak during the November 17 hearing, each person must pre-register by no later than 5 p.m., on November 16. No one who registers to speak after that deadline will be recognized during the meeting. (Due to the technical capabilities of the software, remarks can only be taken from those logged in to the website through a computer or logged in to the app with an iPad or smartphone; remarks cannot be taken from those on a mobile or landline.)

Attendees wishing to speak must indicate on the registration form that they would like to do so by answering “yes” to the question, “Do you wish to speak at this public hearing?” Each speaker’s remarks will be limited to three minutes; the Commission will hear from the first 80 attendees who register to speak.

DHR will share written comments and suggestions received in advance of the meeting with the commission members. However, DHR must receive those written comments by 12 noon, November 16. DHR has already posted emails and letters with names submitted to the commission on the Capitol Commission webpage on the DHR website.

On behalf of the commission, DHR will continue to accept comments and suggested names for the statue until 5:00 p.m. November 27.

The public can suggest names to the commission by using the email address USCapitolCommission@dhr.virginia.gov or the USPS address: Capitol Commission, DHR, 2801 Kensington Avenue, Richmond, VA 23221. (Any communication received by the Commission or the Department or its members or staff is subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act § 2.2-3700 et seq.; therefore, please do not include any information, personal or otherwise, that you would not want shared with the public.)

If you have any questions about registering for this virtual public hearing, please email Stephanie Williams at Stephanie.williams@dhr.virginia.gov.

About the Commission

The Virginia General Assembly created the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol during its last regular session and tasked it with studying removal and replacement of the Robert E. Lee statue in the Capitol, where each state is entitled to have two statues. Virginia’s other statue is of George Washington.

The Capitol commission consists of eight members. Governor Ralph Northam appointed Dr. Edward Ayres and Dr. Colita Fairfax to the commission. The Virginia Senate appointed Sen. Louise Lucas, and the House of Delegates selected Del. Jeion Ward as its representative. During the commission’s first meeting in July, the four appointed members elected three citizen members: Dr. Fred Motley of Danville, Chief Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe and a resident of Indian Neck, and Margaret “Margi” Vanderhye of McLean. Julie Langan, Director of the Department of Historic Resources, serves as an ex-officio member.

The Department of Historic Resources, the Commonwealth’s historic preservation agency, provides administrative support to the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol. Please direct questions to DHR concerning the commission, its purpose, and the upcoming meeting.

 

Updated November 17, 2020