Mississippi delegation split on proposal to remove U.S. Capitol Confederate statues

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Monuments with ties to the Confederacy are facing criticism across the country following the killing of George Floyd. Now that conversation is taking place in the halls of Congress. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) is leading the charge to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

11 statues with Confederate ties are standing in the U.S. Capitol. (Source: Gray DC)

In the middle of the U.S. Capitol statues from every state tower over visitors. These figures are representative of each state’s past. The story for Mississippi reads as one of strong Confederate sympathies.

“I think it’s time we cleared the deck,” said Thompson.

Thompson says changing his state’s representation in the Capitol is overdue. Each state government chooses two statues - Mississippi’s are James Zachariah George - a Confederate Colonel, and the most well-known Confederate of all - Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States.

“You can’t be in a place of honor when you fought to keep a race of people enslaved,” said Thompson.

Thompson is pushing legislation that would remove all confederate statues from the Capitol. He’s calling for the removed statues to be placed in the Smithsonian.

“Just like a lot of our history, good and bad, we still have to maintain it,” said Thompson.

Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS) says the state’s representation in these halls is something they should review, but he thinks the final decision needs to be made at the state level.

“I would be opposed to the federal government ordering or dictating Mississippi to remove those statues,” said Guest.

He thinks there may be more appropriate representatives of Mississippi like football legend Walter Payton or Elvis Pressley. But if Mississippians want these changes to happen, Guest says they should be made by the state legislature who decided on the statues in the first place.

“People who want to see those statues change I encourage them to contact the governor’s office, contact their local and state legislators and ask them to review that,“ said Guest.

Thompson says he expects his legislation to come to a House vote sometime in July. There are 11 total Confederate statues being considered for removal from the Capitol, including the two from Mississippi.

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