D.C. Committee Targets Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial For Changes

The committee recommends that the federal government remove, relocate or contextualize specific statues and memorials

 A Washington D.C. committee released a report Tuesday recommending the renaming, removal or contextualizing of various public schools, residential buildings and campuses, public spaces and government buildings in the district.

Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed the committee in July to work on “evaluating named DC Government-owned facilities and making recommendations as to what, if any, actions need to be taken if the namesake is inconsistent with DC values and in some way encouraged the oppression of African Americans and other communities of color or contributed to our long history of systemic racism.”

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In the report, the committee called on the mayor to use her position to recommend the federal government remove, relocate or contextualize specific statues and memorials -- notably, the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Others include:

  • Christopher Columbus – Columbus Fountain (federal)
  • Benjamin Franklin – Benjamin Franklin Statue (federal)
  • Andrew Jackson – Andrew Jackson Statue (federal)
  • Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson Memorial (federal)
  • George Mason – George Mason Memorial (federal)
  • Francis Griffith Newlands – Newlands Memorial Fountain (federal)
  • Albert Pike – Albert Pike Statue (federal)
  • George Washington – Washington Monument, George Washington Statue (federal)

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who would oversee any change or removal on federal property, made it clear that nothing would be happening during his tenure in office.

"Not on my watch. Never going to happen," he tweeted in response to Bowser.

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While the committee’s report is lengthy, it is hardly the end of the debate over whether to rename or remove the monuments and buildings. A number of the statues and monuments sit on federal government property and out of the jurisdiction to rename.

Also, for Bowser to officially change the name of a public space, she must first get the approval of the city council.