Art in the Capitol

The Washington Post today published an exclusive report surveying the works of art in the U. S. Capitol showing slaveholders and supporters of the Confederacy as well as enslaved people.

It begs the wearying search for the location of the new line, to be drawn somewhere between the Robert E. Lee statue erected in a newly-integrated Charlottesville neighborhood to intimidate non-white residents — the first “art work” that merited removal — and, as perhaps the last such work to merit removal, the Washington Monument on the National Mall. Where should that line be drawn? Perhaps at the point where we collectively lose interest from exhaustion. I am not neutral, being a Franklin admirer: I don’t want Franklin swept away in a new version of the One Drop Rule.

I point out this report for the excellence of the survey at the end, which lead to what may be the worst attempt at Franklin’s likeness, above, from the east end of the north corridor of the Senate wing, over S-118, then occupied by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

This 14-screen listing by the Post does not include the statue by Hiram Powers of Franklin in the three-cornered hat at the foot of the east staircase in the Senate wing in 1862.

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