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McDuffie Introduces Bill to Honor Historic Contributions of Native Washingtonians of Color and Women

The proposed legislation identifies seminal legal scholar Charles Hamilton Houston as the first Washingtonian to honored with a memorial statue


Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development introduced the Charles Hamilton Houston and Other Diverse Washingtonians Commemorative Works Amendment Act of 2017 (B22-0346). This measure would direct the Commemorative Works Commission to erect statues in each of the City’s eight wards that highlight native Washingtonians who are women and minorities, and allow the Council itself to sponsor a commemorative work on public space in the District.

Furthermore, the legislation would make the inaugural statue sponsored by the Council a memorial to honor Charles Hamilton Houston, a native Washingtonian and graduate of Dunbar High School.

“Houston led the law program at Howard University, and then went on to serve as special counsel for the NAACP, where he laid the legal foundation responsible for dismantling the American system of segregation,” Stated McDuffie, “There is no doubt that Houston left an indelible mark on society and inspired generations of lawyers to pursue the cause of freedom and justice for the underprivileged.

“The District of Columbia has been the birthplace for many unsung figures who had an impact on, not just the District of Columbia, but the entire nation,” McDuffie continued, “This bill is designed to memorialize them, educate residents and visitors about them, honor their legacy, and increase representation of native Washingtonian women and minority historical figures lauded throughout the city.”


How to Sign Up To Testify:

Those who wish to testify are asked to email the Committee of the Whole at, or to call Sydney Hawthorne, Legislative Counsel at (202) 724-7130, and to provide your name, address, telephone number, organizational affiliation, and title (if any) by close of business October 3, 2017. Persons wishing to testify are encouraged, but not required, to submit 15 copies of written testimony. If submitted by the close of business on October 3, 2017 the testimony will be distributed to Councilmembers before the hearing. Witnesses should limit their testimony to four minutes; less time will be allowed if there are a large number of witnesses. Copies of the legislation can be obtained through the Legislative Services Division of the Secretary of the Council’s office or on

If you are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Written statements should be submitted to the Committee of the Whole, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 410 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 19, 2017.