Others more deserving of a statue in U.S. Capitol
12/31/2020, 6 p.m.
Re: “Statue of teen civil rights advocate set to represent Virginia in U.S. Capitol,” Free Press Dec. 17-19 edition:
In this dark age of political correctness, revisionist history and of settling scores by the left and leftist organizations, I vehemently disagree with the recent decision to replace the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee with that of Barbara Johns in the U.S. Capitol.
First, my thought is not to diminish the actions of Ms. Johns, a juvenile in Farmville back in the early 1950s. However, I believe the following African-Americans born in Virginia are far more deserving of this honor to replace Gen. Lee:
L. Douglas Wilder, the first African-American elected governor in the nation; attorney Oliver W. Hill Sr., civil rights icon and first Black elected to Richmond City Council since Reconstruction; federal Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III; Maggie L. Walker, pioneering businesswoman and banker; Arthur Ashe Jr., tennis star who won Wimbledon and other major championships and outstanding humanitarian; Booker T. Washington, educator and scholar; Henry “Box” Brown, an enslaved man who mailed himself to freedom; Nat Turner, a slave rebellion leader; Virginia Randolph, noted educator in Henrico; Wendell Scott, pioneering race car driver; Rev. Vernon Johns, minister and civil rights advocate who happened to be related to Ms. Johns; Henry L. Marsh III, the first Black mayor of Richmond; and Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey, entertainers.
Secondly, with all due respect, Ms. Johns was born in New York, according to her biography, and she lived her adult life in Philadelphia.
Therefore, in my opinion, she is not really a Virginian but a Yankee.
H.I. MASSENBERG JR. Richmond