Historic Arkansas Statues Replaced With Recognizable Updates

(PatriotWise.com) — Arkansas lawmakers in 2018 proposed replacing the statues in the US Capitol that represented the state with more contemporary figures from Arkansas history.

Then-governor Asa Hutchinson, who served in Congress, said at the time that when he would show visitors around Statuary Hall and show them the two statues of the 18th and 19th-century state figures, the young people would admit that they never heard of either.

However, that will change starting this week.

The state replaced one of the unknown figures with Arkansas civil rights leader Daisy Bates this week. Later this year, the second will be replaced by well-known musician and singer Johnny Cash.

Bates, once the head of the Arkansas NAACP, was a well-known civil rights leader in the state who mentored the Little Rock Nine, the black students who first integrated Central High School in 1957. She and her husband published the Arkansas State Press.

Idaho sculptor Benjamin Victor created the statue of Bates that will stand in Statuary Hall.

Victor said he first started by studying Bates, including visiting her home in Little Rock and reading her 1962 biography.

The bronze statue depicts the civil rights leader holding a notepad and pen with a copy of her newspaper under her arm. On her lapel are a rose and an NAACP pin.

Johnny Cash’s statue was created by sculptor Kevin Kresse of Little Rock. Kresse has sculpted other Arkansas music figures, including Glen Campbell, Al Green, and Levon Helm.

Kresse’s eight-foot statue of Cash shows the singer with his guitar slung over his back and a Bible in his hand.

The two statues will replace the statues of former governor and Senator James P. Clarke and 19th-century attorney Uriah Rose. The statue of Clarke faced opposition over comments he made describing the purpose of the Democratic Party as preserving “white standards.”

Clarke’s great-great-grandson Clarke Tucker, a Democratic state senator, was among those calling for the statue’s removal.

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