Arkansas to Honor Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash with Capitol Statues

Arkansas is gearing up to replace the statues representing the state at the U.S. Capitol, opting for more contemporary figures to grace its halls.

Former Governor Asa Hutchinson reflected on the obscurity of the previous statues, which had stood for over a century without much recognition from constituents. In their place, civil rights leader Daisy Bates and iconic musician Johnny Cash will soon be immortalized.

Daisy Bates, renowned for her pivotal role in the fight against school segregation, will be commemorated for her leadership during the integration of Central High School in 1957. Her legacy extends beyond Arkansas, with a downtown street in Little Rock named in her honor and Daisy Bates Day celebrated annually.

Sculptor Benjamin Victor, tasked with crafting Bates’ statue, delved into her life and legacy, aiming to inspire visitors to learn more about her contributions to civil rights. The bronze statue will depict Bates with a newspaper and notebook, symbols of her activism and journalism.

Meanwhile, Johnny Cash, a musical icon born in Kingsland, Arkansas, will be honored for his global impact across various genres. Sculptor Kevin Kresse, known for his musical sculptures, aims to capture Cash’s integrity and thoughtfulness in his statue, depicting the singer with a guitar and Bible.

The decision to replace the previous statues, depicting James P. Clarke and Uriah Rose, came after scrutiny over Clarke’s racist remarks. With bipartisan support, the Arkansas legislature approved the installation of Bates and Cash statues, aiming to represent the diversity and spirit of the state’s people.

Senator David Wallace expressed hope that the new statues would showcase Arkansas’s rich tapestry of individuals, highlighting figures who resonate with the common folk of the state.

As Arkansas prepares to unveil these new additions to the U.S. Capitol, the statues of Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash will serve as enduring symbols of courage, resilience, and cultural significance.

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