Statue of Daisy Bates placed in Statuary Hall


A statue of Daisy Gatson Bates was unveiled in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol on May 8. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sen. Tom Cotton were among those who spoke at the event. Scroll down to see some of the speeches, or watch the event in the video player above.Bates was an activist, writer and mentor to the nine Black children who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The National Statuary Hall collection features two statues from each state. A statue of Johnny Cash will become Arkansas’ second statue when it is installed later this year. They will replace statues of 19th-century politicians.The Bates statue stands 7 feet, 6 inches and was cast in bronze. It was created by artist Benjamin Victor.Victor spent a year working on the statue in Little Rock.He is the only living artist to have three works displayed in National Statuary Hall. He also created the statue of Norman Borlaug for Iowa and of Standing Bear for Nebraska.Who Was Daisy Gatson Bates?In 1914, Bates was born in Huttig, Arkansas, where she dealt with racism first-hand after her mother was murdered by three white men when she was an infant.The incident inspired her to dedicate her life to ending racial injustice, starting with the press.Bates and her husband, L.C. Bates, started “The Arkansas Weekly,” an African-American newspaper. It was one of the only papers solely dedicated to the civil rights movement.When segregated schools were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954, Bates gathered Black students to attend all-white schools.This included the Little Rock Nine, who famously entered Central High School in Little Rock accompanied by an armed escort.The success of the Little Rock Nine and Bates’ continued work to desegregate schools brought her positive, national attention but also resulted in acts of violence toward her.In 1962, Bates published her memoir, which won an American Book Award.She worked with President Lyndon B. Johnson on anti-poverty programs two years later.The University of Arkansas awarded her an honorary degree in 1984. In addition, an elementary school in Little Rock was named after her in 1987.Arkansas honors her with Daisy Gatson Bates Day on the third Monday in February.When Bates died in 1999, she became the first African American laid to rest in state.President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded her a Congressional Gold Medal.Replacement StatuesIn 2020, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill to replace the state’s statues with those of Bates and Cash.They will replace statues of 19th-century attorney Uriah Rose and former Arkansas Gov. and Sen. James P. Clarke. Arkansas sent the statue of Rose in 1917 and the statue of Clarke in 1921.Clarke’s great-great grandson, Clarke Tucker, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for central Arkansas congressional seat in 2019, said the statue should be replaced and condemned an 1894 speech in which his ancestor said that Southerners looked to the Democratic Party “to preserve the white standards of civilization.”

A statue of Daisy Gatson Bates was unveiled in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol on May 8.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sen. Tom Cotton were among those who spoke at the event. Scroll down to see some of the speeches, or watch the event in the video player above.

Bates was an activist, writer and mentor to the nine Black children who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

The National Statuary Hall collection features two statues from each state. A statue of Johnny Cash will become Arkansas’ second statue when it is installed later this year.

They will replace statues of 19th-century politicians.

The Bates statue stands 7 feet, 6 inches and was cast in bronze. It was created by artist Benjamin Victor.

Victor spent a year working on the statue in Little Rock.

He is the only living artist to have three works displayed in National Statuary Hall. He also created the statue of Norman Borlaug for Iowa and of Standing Bear for Nebraska.

Who Was Daisy Gatson Bates?

In 1914, Bates was born in Huttig, Arkansas, where she dealt with racism first-hand after her mother was murdered by three white men when she was an infant.

The incident inspired her to dedicate her life to ending racial injustice, starting with the press.

Bates and her husband, L.C. Bates, started “The Arkansas Weekly,” an African-American newspaper. It was one of the only papers solely dedicated to the civil rights movement.

When segregated schools were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954, Bates gathered Black students to attend all-white schools.

This included the Little Rock Nine, who famously entered Central High School in Little Rock accompanied by an armed escort.

The success of the Little Rock Nine and Bates’ continued work to desegregate schools brought her positive, national attention but also resulted in acts of violence toward her.

In 1962, Bates published her memoir, which won an American Book Award.

She worked with President Lyndon B. Johnson on anti-poverty programs two years later.

The University of Arkansas awarded her an honorary degree in 1984. In addition, an elementary school in Little Rock was named after her in 1987.

Arkansas honors her with Daisy Gatson Bates Day on the third Monday in February.

When Bates died in 1999, she became the first African American laid to rest in state.

President Bill Clinton posthumously awarded her a Congressional Gold Medal.

Replacement Statues

In 2020, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill to replace the state’s statues with those of Bates and Cash.

They will replace statues of 19th-century attorney Uriah Rose and former Arkansas Gov. and Sen. James P. Clarke.

Arkansas sent the statue of Rose in 1917 and the statue of Clarke in 1921.

Clarke’s great-great grandson, Clarke Tucker, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for central Arkansas congressional seat in 2019, said the statue should be replaced and condemned an 1894 speech in which his ancestor said that Southerners looked to the Democratic Party “to preserve the white standards of civilization.”


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