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Minnesota Considers Swapping Statues in National Statuary Hall in DC

The Minnesota House could soon vote on a proposal to replace the statue of former U.S. Sen. Henry Mower Rice with one of former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.

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Humphrey’s Influential Career

Humphrey, who attended the University of Minnesota and helped create the state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party, served three terms in the U.S. Senate from 1949 to 1964.

He was the lead author of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and served as vice president from 1965 to 1969 under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Humphrey died in 1978.


Committee Advances Proposal

The House Rules Committee made significant progress on Wednesday by advancing the proposal to request the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress for the change.

According to House Majority Leader Jamie Long (DFL-Minneapolis), the bill estimates that the state would invest approximately $300,000 to create a new Humphrey statue and deliver it to the U.S. Capitol.

The Rice statue would then be transferred to the Minnesota Historical Society.

Honoring Minnesota’s Prominent Figures

Each state has two statue spaces in Statuary Hall.

The current statues in Minnesota represent Rice and former professor of rhetoric and education, Maria Sanford.

Rice’s statue, which has been in place since 1916, meets the requirement of having been installed for at least 10 years to be eligible for replacement.

Congressional guidelines mandate that state statues depict “deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services.”

Advocating for Humphrey’s Representation

Long argued that Humphrey, who had a profound impact on U.S. history, would be a strong representative for Minnesota in the National Statuary Hall.

Authors and historians echoed this sentiment during the committee hearing, citing Humphrey’s contributions to civil rights advances.

“He was a spirited and strong public supporter, and his political support helped us in our early struggles for the rights of our people,” said Josie R. Johnson, a community organizer and former University of Minnesota regent. “We were friends and colleagues working on our shared political and social issues.”

The bill has not yet been taken up by a Senate committee.

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