By Stacy M. Brown | NNPA Newswire
(NNPA) – The bust of Roger Taney, the racist justice who wrote the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that said African Americans were not citizens, has been removed from the United States Capitol.
The removal is the result of an effort led by U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer of New York.
Last month, the U.S. House passed a bill ordering the removal of Taney’s statue.
The bill declared that Taney’s actions “renders a bust of his likeness unsuitable for the honor of display to the many visitors to the Capitol.”
The Dred Scott decision defended slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans.
Earlier, the Senate unanimously passed the same bill and later President Joe Biden signed it into law.
The legislation directed the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove the statue, which sat inside the entrance to the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol.
Officials decided to replace Taney’s statue with one of Thurgood Marshall, the high court’s first Black justice.
“The Dred Scott v. Sanford Supreme Court decision is a stain on our country’s history, and it was made under the Taney Court,” Congressman David Trone (D-Maryland) said when he and fellow Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer introduced the measure in 2020.
“It’s time for us to remove this statue and denounce the institutions of slavery and racism once and for all. They have no place in the United States Capitol or anywhere in our country.”
Hoyer added that a bust of Taney should not be displayed in a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol.
“In Maryland, we made the decision to remove a statue of Taney from the State House grounds, reflecting his shameful contribution to the evil system of slavery and its defense, and we ought to do the same here,” Hoyer reflected.
“We are better than this, as our late colleague Elijah Cummings would say. It is time to make it clear to visitors from across our nation and from abroad that America celebrates champions of inclusion and equality, not proponents of hate and injustice.”
The bill states that “while the removal of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s bust from the Capitol does not relieve the Congress of the historical wrongs it committed to protect the institution of slavery, it expresses Congress’s recognition of one of the most notorious wrongs to have ever taken place in one of its 19 rooms.”