Replacing Bust of Roger Brooke Taney with Bust of Thurgood Marshall

Floor Speech

Date: July 22, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MITCHELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Rodney Davis) for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I wasn't planning on speaking on this. It is an honor to speak after Mr. Hoyer.

I heard Mr. Clyburn speak eloquently regarding the removal of statues, statues including that of former Chief Justice Taney, a statue honoring him for what we all agree was the most dreadful decision the Supreme Court has ever made in this country, not based upon the law but based upon his feelings that African Americans weren't people.

I am speaking today not so much that it convinces anybody in this Chamber, but I am speaking about history, and I am speaking about my children, my children and my grandchildren, that they need to remember the history of this Nation.

The history of this Nation is so fraught with racial division, with hatred, and the only way to overcome that is to recognize that, acknowledge it for what it is.

Mr. Speaker, I support this resolution, and I support what Mr. Clyburn said: to remove statues such as that of Mr. Taney, to lawfully remove them--not tear them down, not destroy them--return them back to the States and places from which they came, and to study, to put them in the study of the history of this Nation, because it should not be lost. Tearing it down does not do justice to the history of this Nation and what our young people must understand.

Mr. Speaker, what you have gone through in your life, Mr. Lewis did and others, we can't simply ignore it and say, because we tore down statues or we burn things, it is suddenly gone. No, we need to recognize those things as part of our history in order to move on beyond them. Because, as many have said, to not acknowledge, to recognize, to understand our history runs a very real risk of reliving it. And, my God, we can't continue to do that.

Mr. Speaker, I support the resolution and support the removal of statues.