Senators Kerry and Feinstein Pass Legislation Opening Door for Rosa Parks Statue in U.S. Capitol
Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced today that the U.S. Senate approved a bill to allow the Joint Committee on the Library and the Architect of the Capitol to move forward in obtaining a statue of Rosa Parks to be placed in the U.S. Capitol. Senator Kerry sponsored the original bill to build the statue, which was signed into law in 2005. Senator Feinstein is chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library.
"Everyone who visits the Capitol should know the story of Rosa Parks, and her courageous stand for civil rights. After her death, we passed legislation to honor her with a statue because we wanted the world to know the place Rosa Parks holds in our hearts, and in our history," said Kerry. "This final legislative step will remove the last remaining roadblock to seeing her statue ends up right where it belongs in Statuary Hall."
"In 2005, Congress voted to preserve the legacy of Rosa Parks by authorizing a statue of her to be placed in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall," said Senator Feinstein, chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library. "A statue of Rosa Parks would be a fitting tribute to the struggle for equal rights for all Americans. But two years later, the statue has not been obtained. It's time to remove the hurdles, and ensure that Rosa Parks is honored as Congress intended."
Congress voted in 2005 to obtain a statue of Rosa Parks to be placed in the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall. The law designated Congress' Joint Committee on the Library to obtain the statue. However, it was later determined that the Joint Committee does not have the technical ability or resources to enter into contracts or pay for the statue.
For two years, this hurdle has prevented Congress from obtaining the statue. And the law authorizing the statue is set to expire on December 1, 2007.
The legislation introduced today would designate the Architect of the Capitol as the agent of the Joint Committee, and extend the deadline by two more years. This change would provide an avenue for the statue to be obtained by allowing the Architect of the Capitol to distribute funds on behalf of the Joint Committee on the Library.
Today's bill is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). The original legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Kerry, and in the House by Representative Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.).