US Capitol to Install Billy Graham Statue in 2021
After five years of planning, the Bible-wielding preacher will replace a white supremacist North Carolina governor in the national collection.
A life-sized statue of Billy Graham will be installed in the US Capitol’s Statuary Hall collection sometime next year, replacing a statue of a white supremacist that both the state of North Carolina and the US House want removed.
Last week, a North Carolina legislative committee approved a 2-foot model of the statue depicting the famous evangelist who died in 2018.
The sculptor, Chas Fagan, will now begin working on a life-sized model that will have to be approved by a congressional committee. Fagan has previously created several statues of religious figures, including St. John Paul II for Washington’s Saint John Paul II National Shrine, as well as Mother Teresa for the Washington National Cathedral.
The US Capitol, Statuary Hall collection consists of 100 statues of prominent people—two from each state. Graham, a North Carolina native who was born on a dairy farm in Charlotte, will take the place of Charles Aycock (1859–1912), a former governor.
Aycock was one of the masterminds of the 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina, race riot and coup, in which a local government made up of black Americans was overthrown and replaced by white officials. North Carolina’s other statue is of Zebulon Vance (1830–1894), a former governor and US senator who was also a Confederate military officer.
With statues to white supremacists and Confederate leaders toppling across the nation, North Carolina’s reconsideration might seem timely. But in fact, installing a statue of Graham at the US Capitol had widespread support long before the most recent reckoning on race.
Former North Carolina State Sen. Dan Soucek pushed for the new statue in 2015 while Graham was still living. Soon after …
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June 16, 2021