By J. Freedom du Lac, Washington Post Staff Writer
Harriet Tubman has history on her side. But does she have the votes? The famous abolitionist is locked in a historical steel-cage match with the increasingly forgotten patriot John Hanson – one that’s playing out not far from John Hanson Highway in Annapolis, where Maryland lawmakers, historians and activists have been debating whether to refresh the state’s history by dumping Hanson in favor of Tubman.
At stake: one of 100 marble pedestals in the exclusive if not always accessible National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol.
For the past 108 years, Hanson, a leading advocate of American independence, has been honored at the Capitol with a larger-than-life statue that the public almost never sees. Wearing a tricorn hat, waistcoat, breeches and other colonial-era clothes, the old Southern Marylander’s 7-foot, 3-inch bronze likeness peers down at lawmakers and legislative aides rushing through a restricted-access corridor outside the Senate chamber.
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