Representative William Lacy Clay (D-MO) and his father, former Representative Bill Clay, have asked the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to formally oppose the statue of the late President George H.W. Bush that was recently unveiled on Hampton University’s campus in Virginia.
The historically Black university unveiled the statue last month as part of its Legacy Park. According to a Hampton press release, the statue honors President Bush’s “long-standing support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities over his career.” Bush founded the United Negro College Fund chapter at Yale University and gave the 1991 commencement address at Hampton University.
“President Bush was not only a good friend of mine, but he was an extraordinary person who believed it was crucial that African Americans have access to education,” Hampton President William Harvey said in December. “I think that’s something that we must acknowledge.”
However, Clay Jr. believes that the former president’s legacy is damaging to the African-American community, such as his history with civil rights policies, his appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and his use of the racist Willie Horton advertisement during his bid for the White House.
“When you think about the legacy of President George H. W. Bush it is not one that you can hold up as someone who believed in equal justice for all,” said Clay Jr.
Clay Sr. wrote a letter to Hampton University condemning the Bush statue on their campus. “He steadfastly and vigorously opposed any specific proposal to ameliorate the inequitable, bigoted treatment of Black citizens,” the letter reads.