The idea of honoring Lewis at the U.S. Capitol began circulating shortly after he died in July. The proposal has been endorsed by Kemp, Duncan and Ralston.
At Wednesday’s hearing, some Republican lawmakers said their constituents wondered whether other Georgians had been considered for the honor. And some questioned the idea of honoring a politician instead of a more “unifying” choice.
“Hank Aaron’s name has come up,” said Rep. Jodi Lott, R-Evans. “Politicians tend not to be considered unifiers.”
Nonetheless, the measure passed the committee with only one dissenting vote.
For many Lewis fans, the idea of replacing a statue of Stephens — a secessionist who called slavery the “natural and normal condition” of Black people — with one of the civil rights legend has special resonance.
The resolution says Lewis “passionately opposed hatred and discrimination, led in the Civil Rights Movement that changed the course of history.” And it notes that he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom “for his efforts to create a just society and his years of public service.”
On Wednesday, Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, who sponsored the resolution, stuck to describing its contents.
“We’re honoring the life and memory of Rep. John Lewis,” he told the committee.