Norton Says D.C.’s History Must be Acknowledged, not Erased

Sep 2, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement on monuments and public spaces.

“The District's place as both a hometown and a federal city introduces unique elements into removing statues and renaming public places that reflect the Confederacy or slavery. Most important, for most of its 219 years as a city, the District has had no self-government. Unlike other jurisdictions, the residents of this city had no say in the names given or in the placement of statues. The city's history is further complicated by the compromise that placed the nation's capital below the Mason-Dixon line to preserve slavery and ultimately racial discrimination.

“With passage of the D.C. Statehood bill by the House of Representatives in June, it is natural for the District to want statues and public places within its boundaries to reflect its values, just as other jurisdictions are insisting.


“All our statues and public places, whenever they were placed, tell the story of our city. They must be preserved to assure that story and history are complete. At the same time, to forego any notation of Confederate or slave affiliation is inexcusably incomplete and ahistorical. We must acknowledge all our history, not become complicit in erasing it."