Sculptor chosen to create U.S. Capitol statue of Barbara Johns

Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 10:27 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol has announced its pick to create a statue of civil rights icon Barbara Johns.

After a lengthy search, Maryland sculptor Steven Weitzman was chosen to create the statue after a unanimous vote.

The commission’s chair, state Senator Louise Lucas spoke about why Weitzman was chosen.

“His obvious passion for this project and his articulation of Barbara John’s legacy evoked an emotional response from the Commission. After his moving presentation, the decision to offer this commission to Weitzman was quickly and easily reached,” Lucas said.

The bronze statue of Johns will represent Virginia in the National Statuary Hall Collection. It replaces the Robert E. Lee statue that was removed in 2020.

In 1951, 16-year-old Johns led a student walkout at R.R. Moton High School in Farmville. The walkout was in protest of the overcrowding and inferior conditions of Johns’ all-black school.

Johns’ actions helped desegregate schools in Prince Edward County and across the country.