Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Nov. 12 that $510,000 has been raised to replace Arkansas’ statues in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. The new statues will be Daisy Lee Gatson Bates and Johnny Cash.
The announcement took place at the Old State House Museum in Little Rock. Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives Matthew Sherpard, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and Secretary of Parks Heritage and Tourism Stacy Hurst were in attendance.
Hutchinson signed a law to replace current statues in July 2019. The new statues will replace statues of James Paul Clarke and Uriah Milton Rose, which were both installed in Statuary Hall over a century ago.
Hutchinson announced that the project will cost a total of $1 million dollars. The state has currently raised a total of $510,000 to complete the project, which includes costs to pay sculptors, buy materials and ship the sculptures to Washington, D.C. Current leading donors include Walmart, the City of Little Rock, Sony Music, Simmons Bank, Steuart and Kelly Walton and the Tyson Family Foundation.
The project is now entering the public phase of fundraising.
“We want Arkansans of every way to participate in this campaign. We want them when they go to our nation’s capital, when they see the representation of our modern history there at our nation’s capital to say, ‘I donated to that, I participated in this, we helped make this happen.’ We want all Arkansans to have that benefit. Whether it is five dollars or fifty dollars, we want you to be a part of this historic initiative,” said Hutchinson.
Shane Broadway, chair of the National Statuary Steering Committee, spoke at the event and announced where each statue will be located. Cash’s statue will be in the Capitol’s Visitor Center. Bates will be located across from Rosa Parks and next to Jefferson Davis, which is “a fitting place for a Civil Rights icon to be,” according to Broadway. Both decisions were made after consulting with the families of Cash and Bates. The committee has also worked with the families to choose photographs to serve as models for both statues.
Charles King, president of the Daisy Bates Foundation also spoke. “The gifts that we ask for today will correctly enshrine the work of two great Americans. Daisy Lee Gatson Bates and Johnny R. Cash will stand proudly in our nation’s Statuary Hall as representatives of the very best Arkansas has offered” said King.
Hutchinson did not provide a date for the completion of the project, but he stated his goal is for the statues to be finished and installed before the end of his term as governor.