STATUE OF LIM­I­TA­TIONS

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics -

A $100,000 bronze statue of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass once in­tended for Na­tional Stat­u­ary Hall in the U.S. Capi­tol is de­scribed as home­less by its maker, who says the 7-foot fig­ure of the famed states­man and abo­li­tion­ist was barred from the his­toric space be­cause of a tech­ni­cal­ity: The Dis­trict of Columbia is not a state.

The D.C. Com­mis­sion on the Arts and Hu­man­i­ties com­mis­sioned lo­cal sculp­tor Steven Weitz­man to cre­ate the work. It was pre­sented to the Capi­tol in 2007, as a gift on be­half of the city, and re­jected — now “col­lect­ing dust at Ju­di­ciary Square, with no home,” he says.

“There was no doubt in my mind that this bronze like­ness of Fred­er­ick Dou­glass would go into the U.S. Capi­tol while cre­at­ing it. How­ever, I do hope to see him placed there in my life­time. But it is not for me to de­cide,” Mr. Weitz­man tells In­side the Belt­way.

“Each state is al­lowed to have two statues as a gift to the Capi­tol. But we are not yet a state. This is pre­vent­ing us from hon­or­ing one of our own sons of D.C. Ac­cept­ing this statue will lead us one step closer to state­hood.”

Could neigh­bors help? In a Feb. 9 let­ter to House Re­pub­li­can lead­er­ship, Virginia Gov. Bob Mcdon­nell ad­vised them to sup­port leg­is­la­tion grant­ing the Dis­trict the bud­getary au­ton­omy that “gov­er­nors of ev­ery state en­joy.” The Prince Ge­orge’s County Coun­cil in Mary­land also adopted a res­o­lu­tion sup­port­ing Dis­trict state­hood.

“It is a public mon­u­ment so it needs to be in a public place. But I do be­lieve it was made for the U.S. Capi­tol, and it should find its way,” Mr. Weitz­man ob­serves.

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