Jun 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi orders removal of portraits of House speakers who served Confederacy on Juneteenth


Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered that the chamber's clerk remove portraits of former House speakers who served the Confederacy from display in the Capitol in a letter sent Thursday.

The big picture: Pelosi wrote that the portraits should be removed "to appropriately observe Juneteenth," the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S.

  • "The portraits of these men are symbols that set back our nation's work to confront and combat bigotry," Pelosi wrote.
  • Pelosi last week requested that statues honoring the Confederacy should be removed from the Capitol.

Details: The portraits are of Robert Hunter of Virginia (who served as speaker from 1839- 1841), Howell Cobb of Georgia (1849-1851), James Orr of South Carolina (1857-1859), and Charles Crisp of Georgia (1891-1895).

What she's saying: "As I have said before, the halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy," Pelosi wrote.

  • "We cannot honor men such as James Orr, who swore on the House Floor to 'preserve and perpetuate' slavery in order to 'enjoy our property in peace, quiet and security,' or Robert Hunter, who served at nearly every level of the Confederacy, including in the Confederate Provincial Congress, as Confederate Secretary of State, in the Confederate Senate and in the Confederate Army."
Go deeper