On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. announced that she has ordered the removal of portraits of four House speakers who served in the Confederacy that are on display at the Capitol.
What We Know:
- In the letter, Pelosi requested the immediate removal of the portraits of Robert Hunter of Virginia who served as House speaker from 1839 to 1841; Howell Cobbs of Georgia (1849 to 1851); James Orr of South Carolina (1857 to 1859); and Charles Crisp of Georgia (1891 to 1895).
- “There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” she wrote in a letter to Cheryl Johnson, clerk of the House of Representatives, released Thursday.
- Pelosi said that she made the request ahead of Friday’s Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery for African Americans, and amid “a moment of extraordinary national anguish” in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans.
- The speaker said during her weekly press conference Thursday that she and her team were unaware that the portraits existed inside the Capitol until “we were taking inventory of the statues and the curator told us” about the four paintings of the Confederate speakers.
- Pelosi’s request comes a week after she said that the names of Confederate leaders must be removed from American military bases and the statues of these men must be taken out of the U.S. Capitol.
She wrote a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library, which oversees statues in the U.S. Capitol, calling for the removal of Confederate statues from the building because they are a “grotesque affront” to American ideals and “pay homage to hate, not heritage”. Pelosi had been pushing for the removal of Confederate statues from the Capitol after the events in Charlottesville in 2017.