WASHINGTON (WDVM) — A bill introduced to Congress will bring changes to Chevy Chase Circle, if approved. The bill requests that the name of a former senator be removed from the fountain in the circle, as well as a memorative plaque in the senator’s honor.
The late Senator Francis G. Newlands, of Nevada, is honored on the fountain and plaque. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton of D.C. and Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland want the name removed because they say Newlands had racist views that do not align with the community.
“Statues dedicated to Confederates and segregationists belong in museums, not on our streets where they can be misconstrued to mean current support of their racist ideologies,” Norton said. “The plaque and fountain dedicated to Newlands tell no story. They are meant only to honor a segregationist who argued that voting rights won for African Americans as a result of the Civil War should be repealed. Newlands belongs in the dustbin of history, not preserved on a traffic circle that symbolizes the unity between the nation’s capital and the state of Maryland.”
“Newlands worked to institutionalize his beliefs in white supremacy and did what he could to increase the racism that continues to plague our country and our people,” Raskin said.
“Newlands called for the repeal of the 15th Amendment, which invalidated race discrimination in voting rights; advocated racist and anti-immigrant policies; and backed efforts to deprive African Americans, Jews, and other minorities of basic human rights. Let’s leave Newlands’ disturbing legacy to his family and others who want to continue to honor him. But the people of Maryland and Washington can move on. We should stop rewarding racist ideology and politics with a public memorial on public property. It is time to write a new story for the new century.”