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Georgia House Panel Backs Statue Of John Lewis At U.S. Capitol

John Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes most of Atlanta, for 33 years.
John Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes most of Atlanta, for 33 years.
Credit J. Scott Applewhite / Associated PRess file
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A Georgia state House committee has approved a resolution that would start the process of replacing a statue of the vice president of the Confederacy at the U.S. Capitol with one of John Lewis.

House Resolution 14 would create a committee to work out the details of replacing the statue of Alexander Stephens in National Statuary Hall with one of Lewis, a longtime congressman and civil rights leader who died in July.

The resolution, which has the backing of Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, was approved by the State Properties Committee on Wednesday. It could soon move to the full House for a vote.

The committee would be composed of eight members: four appointed by the governor, two by House Speaker David Ralston and two by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan. The committee would be responsible for commissioning the new statue of Lewis, finding a place in Georgia to put the old statue of Stephens and securing private funding for the whole process. It would have until December 2022 to complete the work.

Each state gets to send two statues to the U.S. Capitol to represent it. Stephens, a white supremacist and slave owner who lived from 1812 to 1883, has been on display as one of Georgia’s statues since 1927.

Lewis represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes most of Atlanta, for 33 years. As a young man he led voting rights protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.