Georgia’s top leaders have embraced the idea of removing the figure of Alexander Stephens from the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol and replacing him with a likeness of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
Shortly after the civil rights icon’s funeral ended Thursday, most of Georgia’s congressional delegation signed letters to Gov. Brian Kemp and state legislative leaders pushing to swap out the statue of Stephens, a white supremacist who was the vice president of the Confederacy.
“I can think of no better statue in the U.S. Capitol representing our state than one of John Lewis,” wrote U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, one of the most senior members of Georgia’s delegation. “Our nation lost a giant, and it’s up to us to work together so that John’s fight for justice and equality continues.”
Added U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany: “There is no better Georgian we could choose to represent our state in our nation’s Capitol than our beloved friend, colleague, and hero, John Robert Lewis.”
The move would require the approval of Kemp and the General Assembly. The governor endorsed the idea in a tweet posted late Wednesday, saying that swapping Stephens’ statue with Lewis would “celebrate his legacy of service for years to come.”