BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers are expected to honor anti-slavery heroes with statues in the historic House of Delegates chamber in Annapolis.
The Democratic leadership and Gov. Larry Hogan support putting statues of Maryland-born Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the State House.
Thousands of school children tour the State House each year, and these statues will broaden their view of Maryland history.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in the early 1800’s on Maryland Eastern Shore. She is the hero of the underground railroad, leading hundreds of other slaves to freedom and working with the Union Army as a scout and a spy in the Civil War, and will become the first woman on a U.S. paper money in 100 years.
“A woman could grow up as a slave, remain illiterate, and through her heroism and her vision and her determination, help to change the course of this country,” says Jack Lew, of the U.S. Treasury Department.
Frederick Douglass was also born into slavery in the early 1800s, also on the Eastern Shore, and also a hero of the anti-slavery movement. His descendant Kenneth Morris, is the grandson of Frederick Douglass’ great-grandfather and supports the decision.
Now these Marylanders who are honored nationally, may be recognized with statues in the old House of Delegates chamber in the Maryland state house, across the hall from the old senate chambers with its statue of George Washington, who was a slave-owner.
The house chamber is where Maryland voted against amendments to abolish slavery and voted against civil rights and voting rights for African-Americans.
In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, Morris says the statues should be in a place where they tell an interpretive story.
With thousands of schoolchildren going to the statehouse every year, the state leaders believe the new statues will add a new and broader perspective to Maryland history.
There is still a controversy over whether the statue of Roger B. Taney on the State House lawn should be removed. He was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott ruling, that denied citizenship to African- Americans.