Rep. Norton Leads Inaugural Tour of the U.S. Capitol, Richard Wright PCS Students Participate


Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Norton talks about a statue of Rosa Parks during a tour of the Capitol’s Statuary Hall that she gave to about 60 D.C. students. Norton has been giving the tours in honor of Black History Month, which is February.

This February marks the first time the Capitol has celebrated Black History Month with two statues of prominent African-Americans standing in its collection.

Prior to the Feb. 27, 2013, unveiling of a 9-foot, bronze-cast statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks in National Statuary Hall, there were no full-size sculptures of African-Americans among the 110 portrait statues cared for by the Architect of the Capitol for the Congress. The 2,100-pound work depicts Parks seated on a rock-like foundation, symbolizing her 1955 arrest for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus.

Four months later, a 7-foot-tall bronze, bearded likeness of abolitionist Frederick Douglass was unveiled in the Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall. Douglass stands in a formal double-breasted coat and bow tie, firmly grasping a lectern topped with an inkwell and quill pen, in homage to his incisive antislavery writing.

For Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the new additions are a great reason to invite her constituents into the Capitol to commemorate Black History Month. Norton has started offering tours of the four statues for District residents, culminating with the figure she holds in highest esteem. The journey ends in Emancipation Hall with Douglass — the first statue Congress has granted to a jurisdiction that’s not a state and won after a long fight by Norton and her allies on Capitol Hill.

Source: Roll Call

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