D.C.’s second statue of Pierre Charles L’Enfant, an engineer who designed the city’s basic layout, will be unveiled in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, putting the District on par with states allotted two statues within the hallowed halls.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s delegate in Congress, called the move historic, especially against the backdrop of D.C.’s long fight for statehood.
“We have made historic progress on D.C. statehood this Congress, and the unveiling of D.C.’s second statue in the Capitol will be the latest recognition by the House that D.C. deserves statehood,” Norton said in a statement.
The event will be attended by Norton, as well as Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson and the House Democratic leadership: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. James Clyburn and Rep. Steny Hoyer.
“I am grateful to Speaker Pelosi and Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren for accepting D.C.’s gift of the L’Enfant statue and for their support of D.C. statehood and full D.C. equality,” Norton said.
She added that the day would also harken back to the Organic Act of 1801, which established a government for D.C. and subsequently denied congressional voting representation and home rule for citizens of the city.
D.C. received its first statue in 2013, becoming the only jurisdiction without statehood to place a statue in the Capitol. That statue was of Frederick Douglass and remains on display in the Emancipation Hall.
Monday’s event will not be open to the public due to the pandemic, but interested viewers will be able to watch the video on Speaker Pelosi’s Facebook page.
Norton said she looks forward to taking D.C. residents to the two statues of Douglass and L’Enfant when the Capitol reopens for visits.
This event follows the historic consideration of D.C. statehood by both chambers of Congress in 2021. The bill for D.C. statehood currently has 45 Senate co-sponsors — all of whom caucus with the Democratic Party.