House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Thursday that, per an order she made, four portraits on display at the Capitol depicting House speakers who served in the Confederacy would be removed.
“There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to clerk of the House of Representatives Cheryl Johnson on Thursday.
The portraits of Robert Hunter (VA), Howell Cobb (GA), James Orr (SC), and Charles Crisp (GA) are scheduled to be removed on Thursday afternoon in celebration of Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery.
These men each served in the Confederacy at various capacities — a point that Pelosi told reporters on Thursday was unbeknownst to her until a curator who was taking an appraisal of another group of Confederate statues alerted her to their Confederate histories. Robert Hunter, for example, a fierce defender of slavery, served as a Confederate Senator, among other roles. His portrait also appeared on the Confederate $10 bill.
“The portraits of these men are symbols that set back our nation’s work to confront and combat bigotry,” Pelosi wrote.
Pelosi celebrated the victory of the portraits’ scheduled removal on Thursday, alongside the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold DACA amid the ongoing national reckoning with racial injustice.