WASHINGTON (WMAL) – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia, introduced a bill on Tuesday to remove a Confederate statue from federal land near Judiciary Square in D.C.
The statue of Confederate General Albert Pike was authorized by Congress in 1898 and was installed in 1901. It was donated to the federal government by the Freemasons.
Norton also clarified that she is against tearing down Confederate statues and would prefer to move them to other locations, including museums.
“Adding to the dishonor of taking up arms against the United States, Pike dishonored even his Confederate military service,” Norton said in a statement. “He certainly has no claim to be memorialized in the nation’s capital.”
Norton’s full statement on the removal of the statue is included below:
Statement of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
On the Introduction of a Bill to Remove the Statue of Confederate General Albert Pike
July 30, 2019
I rise to introduce a bill to require the removal of a statue of Confederate General Albert Pike from federal land near Judiciary Square in the District of Columbia. This statue was authorized, not by the District, but by Congress in 1898, when the District had no home rule. The statue was constructed using both federal and private funds. The Freemasons, of which Pike was a member, donated the majority of the money needed to build and install the statue in 1901. I oppose tearing down Confederate statues, because I believe they should be moved to more appropriate settings, like museums, to avoid erasing an important part of history from which Americans must continue to learn.
Pike was a Confederate general who served dishonorably and was forced to resign in disgrace. It was found that soldiers under his command mutilated the bodies of Union soldiers, and Pike was ultimately imprisoned after his fellow officers reported that he misappropriated funds. Adding to the dishonor of taking up arms against the United States, Pike dishonored even his Confederate military service. He certainly has no claim to be memorialized in the nation’s capital. Even those who do not want Confederate statues removed will have to justify awarding Pike any honor, considering his history.
After meeting with the Freemasons, I believe that the best course of action is to remove the statue and find a more appropriate place for it. The Freemasons themselves support the statue’s removal, given its divisive nature. The D.C. Mayor and the Council also support the removal of the statue.
My bill clarifies that no federal funds may be used to remove the Pike statue. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.
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