On September 10, I joined my colleagues in passing a bill (H.R. 6336) to direct the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to place a statue depicting Frederick Douglass in Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center here in Washington.

To speak of the life of Frederick Douglass is to speak of the struggle and unrelenting spirit of the African American community. Born in 1818, Douglass escaped from slavery to become a writer and advocate for abolition, women’s suffrage, and racial equality. His autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” shone a powerful spotlight on the dark stain of American history that was the slave trade. Douglass went on to make history as the first African-American to receive a vote for nomination as president of the United States at the 1888 Republican National Convention – a dream that was finally realized when Barack Obama became the first African American elected president of the United States on November 4, 2008.

I was proud to vote for putting Douglass’ likeness in Emancipation Hall, an area of the Capitol Visitor Center dedicated to telling the story of Congress and the Capitol Building and recognizing the enslaved laborers who helped build it. This statue will pay immortal tribute to Douglass and his many contributions to the African American community and to America as a country, and will also provide the millions of visitors who walk through these halls with an opportunity to learn about Douglass’ life and legacy.