McHenry on Vote to Remove Statues From the U.S. Capitol
Washington, July 22, 2020
Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) released the following statement on tonight's House vote on H.R. 7573, which would remove certain statues from areas of the United States Capitol which are accessible to the public, including the statue of former North Carolina Governor Charles Aycock:
“Throughout our nation’s history, we have had leaders—whether they be political, religious, or cultural—that have helped shape and grow this great country. The U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection was created to provide the states with the opportunity to recognize these leaders, allowing each state to contribute two statues of their choosing to the collection.
“However, some of the statues in the Capitol—including North Carolina’s statue of Charles Aycock—are a reminder of some of the most painful moments in our nation’s history. While often remembered as a leader in establishing North Carolina’s public education system, Aycock was also a virulent white supremacist who—as I learned in Rob Christensen’s book The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics—played a leading role in the horrific Red Shirt campaign that defined North Carolina politics at the end of the 19th Century.
“It was with that history in mind that drove me to lead the ongoing process to remove Aycock’s statue as one of North Carolina’s two statues in the Capitol and replace it with a statue of one of North Carolina’s finest sons, the Reverend Billy Graham. Reverend Graham was one of our nation’s great spiritual leaders and someone I had the honor of representing in Congress.
“While I support the removal of Aycock’s statue from the Capitol, the legislation considered in the House today is not the way to do it. We should update the story of America by learning from our history, not erasing it.”