The Michigan Senate Democrats and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) are calling for the removal of the statue of Lewis Cass from National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, June 30.
Officials said each state is permitted to commission and submit two statues of prominent figures who represent its history.
The Senate Democrats said they agreed that it is time to replace Cass with someone who better represents the state.
“Those who are chosen to represent our great state in the hallowed space of Statuary Hall should embody the very best of our history, society, and ideals,” Sen. Ananich said. “A former slave owner is not that. Michigan’s history is full of brave civil rights activists, Native American leaders, and innovators who would much better reflect our state’s values as we hold them today.”
According to the Senators, Cass held several public offices, including Governor of the Michigan Territory, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Secretary of State. They said he was also a slave owner and advocated for President Jackson’s forced migration policy of Indian Removal.
The Senators said that as the country collectively deals with systemic racism that continues to harm people of color, Michigan must make a statement that slavery and forced migration are not elements of our history of which to be proud.
The display of state-donated statues in Statuary Hall is a national tradition dating back to 1865.
Senate Democrats said they are in the beginning stages of the process and look forward to announcing an individual who represents the best of Michigan’s proud progressive history on civil rights.