Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Will B.B. King go to Washington?

A statue of B.B. King will represent Mississippi in the nation's capital if Representative Mark Baker (R-Cindy's Catfish House) has his way.  Representative Baker filed House Concurrent Resolution #82 this morning.  It states:


WHEREAS, the National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is comprised of 100 statues contributed by 50 states to honor persons notable in each state's history; and

WHEREAS, thirty-five statues are now displayed in National Statuary Hall while others have been placed in other parts of the Capitol, including the Crypt, the Hall of Columns, and the Capitol Visitor Center; and

WHEREAS, Mississippi has representational statues of Jefferson Davis and James Zachariah George displayed, which were crafted by Augustus Lukeman and dedicated in 1931; and

WHEREAS, Jefferson Davis, who authored Rise and Fall of the Confederated States, served in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, was President of the Confederate States, and eventually made his home at Beauvoir, near Biloxi, Mississippi; and

WHEREAS, James Zachariah George, Mississippi's "Great Commoner," was a Confederate colonel who served on the Mississippi Supreme Court and represented Mississippi in the United States Senate, helped frame the future Sherman Anti-Trust Act, served as a member of the Mississippi Constitutional Convention of 1890 and successfully defended the constitution before the Senate and the Supreme Court; and

WHEREAS, both men are important figures who reflect similar times, but do not necessarily reflect the unified and progressive spirit encompassing the Mississippi of today, as it is Mississippi's sentimental desire to respect and celebrate the past while honoring its evolution from past icons to present icons; and

WHEREAS, world renowned icon and highly acclaimed blues legend Riley Benjamin King, better known as B.B. King, was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and defined blues for a worldwide audience, while releasing over 50 albums since the 1940s; and

WHEREAS, this notable Mississippian, who developed the world's most identifiable guitar styles, was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, earned numerous awards and distinctions, owned three clubs and restaurants in Tennessee, New York and Los Angeles, and toured extensively averaging 250 concerts per year around the world until health issues impeded his ability to do so; and

WHEREAS, 2 U.S.C. Section 2132 allows a state to request the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve the removal of a previously placed statue from the collection and the replacement of it with an equally suitable and socially inclusive display representative of the entirety of the state's diverse citizenry; and

WHEREAS, a request from a state for replacement may only be considered if the request has been approved by resolution adopted by the Legislature of the state and the request has been approved by the Governor of the state, and the statue to be replaced has been displayed in the Capitol for at least 10 years at the time the request is made, unless the Joint Committee waives this requirement for cause at the request of a state; and

WHEREAS, if the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress approves a request, the architect of the Capitol shall enter into an agreement with the state to carry out the replacement in accordance with the request and any conditions that the Joint Committee may require for its approval, and such agreement shall provide that the new statue shall be subject to the same conditions and restrictions as applied to any statue provided by a state under 2 U.S.C. Section 2131 and the state shall pay any costs related to the replacement, including costs in connection with the design, construction, transportation, and placement of the new statue, the removal and transportation of the statue being replaced and any unveiling ceremony; and

WHEREAS, several states have chosen to replace existing statues, thereby including representations of Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Thomas Edison and Helen Keller; and

WHEREAS, the Mississippi Legislature desires to replace the statue of James Zachariah George with a statue of blues legend B.B. King, to reflect the transformative power of Mississippi from its past to its present; and

WHEREAS, we request the Governor of the State of Mississippi to affirm the efforts of this Legislature by issuing a proclamation or statement approving the request for the replacement of the statue, and to create a commission of Mississippi artisans and artists who are authorized to solicit and collect private contributions for the creation and placement of the B.B. King statue; and

WHEREAS, it is incumbent upon this Legislature to pursue the interests of its citizens by ensuring that statues representing our state wholly depict the astounding strides made by all citizens, particularly in this instance when the state itself bears the moniker of being the "birthplace of America's music" and there has been no better ambassador of our state than the distinguished and incomparable B.B. King:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby submit this formal request to the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress to approve the replacement of the Statue of James Zachariah George with a statue of blues legend Riley Benjamin "B.B." King in the Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress, to the members of the Mississippi Congressional delegation and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.


Anonymous said...

Nice, subtle nose in tent. Start with the statue that no one cares about (who the hell is James Zacharias George?) in a place that no one cares about (DC). Eventually the flag comes down. Eventually.

Anonymous said...

Can we not just add BB?

Do we have to replace anyone?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Each state is allowed two. So yes would have to replace one.

Imagine statutory hall if each state could put as many as they wanted!

I would put Faulkner if I were to replace George. Others might choose Elvis. And others Welty. Keep going.

Anonymous said...

What's so silly is that neither of the 2 that are there, are from Mississippi. Remove both and place with Native Mississippians.

Anonymous said...

Can we please end the civil war?

Anonymous said...

This is the most significant piece of legislation in which Baker has ever had direct involvement.

Anonymous said...

Why not rename the Ross Barnett Reservoir while we're at it? And let's tear down Beauvoir and change the name of the capital city to Medgarton.

You see, it's imperative that we show people in New York and California that we've CHANGED here, and the proper way to do that is to take a sledgehammer to history.

By that, I mean any person in the history of this state who had anything to do with anything that California liberals and Northeastern Democrats find even the slightest bit offensive, let's erase it from history.

We'll tear down monuments and close museums and rename everything after Robert Johnson or Medgar Evers or someone our betters will approve of.

We can plow under the Vicksburg Military Park and turn it into a marijuana farm and hippie commune and name it after Donna Ladd.

We can rename the Stennis Space Center to the BB King Space Center.

Hope you enjoy boating on the Kenneth I Stokes Reservoir!

See, Hollywood? We've changed! See?

Please like us!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the rules of Statuary Hall are, but wouldn't a statesman be a better choice than a musician? I like BB King, but is he the most deserving citizen in the history of the state? I know it's a cool and hip choice, but if we MUST get rid of one of these, then is there no statesman that would suffice?

If not, then why not just replace them both with BB on one side and Archie Manning on the other? Is our state legacy no deeper than entertainers, authors, and sports figures?

Anonymous said...

Here we go again with the "when will it stop" argument. Remove a statue of a racist author of Jim Crow laws and the next thing you know they'll yada yada.

Count me as a white guy that sees nothing worth honoring in the lives of Ross Barnett or James George. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

12:16....sadly, our legacy is not much deeper than entertainers, authors and sports figures. If you scratch below the surface, it's embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Let's put 2 Mark Bakers...that way we make sure we get both faces and all his ego

Anonymous said...

We can't afford to fix the highways and bridges but we CAN give the fatcats a big tax cut and we CAN afford a statue of BB King. Yep, sure can.

Disappointed said...

@12:16 @12:49

I've been sitting here trying to come up with a statesman and it's really sad. I cannot think of one that's outstanding. We talk about Elvis and Faulkner and Eudora Welty and the Blues and a few civil rights activists, and that's pretty much where it ends.

Who are our brilliant businessmen? Who are our medical pioneers? Who are our explorers and post-Civil War military heroes? Who are our leaders?

These are not rhetorical questions. I truly don't know but one or two people that would fit.

I Googled "famous Mississippians" and the top three were LeAnn Rimes, Soulja Boy, and Lance Bass. Man, that's a sad legacy.

Anonymous said...

Hell No! George and Jefferson Davis fought the Yankees and defended Mississippi with their last breath. I don't remember B.B. King doing any such thing.

Kingfish said...

This is a statue that is displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

You can be pro-Confederacy and still realize there is something um, uncouth about placing in the U.S. Capitol a statue of someone who was the leader of the rebellion or to be charitable, war for independence. Jefferson Davis and George probably should be replaced. Place them in state memorials all day long if you like, but in the U.S. Capitol?

Anonymous said...

George and Davis were LOSERS!

Hell, just erect a statue of Steve Sloan if winning doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, KF. Not like they haven't been there for almost a century, but times have changed, so let's change the statues.

So who should replace them? This is not a taunt, but a serious question. Someone above posed that question and I've been unable to answer it with anyone deeper than the usual suspects (Faulkner, Welty, etc.). At first I was certain there were dozens of likely candidates, but when you eliminate people in the arts and sports, there's almost no one left.

John Stennis? No. James Eastland? No. Ray Mabus? Ha!

Maybe someone historical who is not well known but was prominent in the state's history. I'd like to hear a suggestion, but I don't think it should be a musician or a writer or a quarterback.

Anonymous said...

If this is successful, they may let Mark Baker say the opening prayer or something. He is really moving up.

Anonymous said...

William Winter and Kirk Fordice

Anonymous said...

B.B. King an accomplished international musician who rose from humble beginnings in Delta cottonfields to become the most recognizable icon of an entire genre of music would be an excellent choice to symbolize Mississippi's talent and perseverance. But if you remove the statues of Jeff Davis and George, how would we symbolize Mississippi's hatred of half it's population and refusal to accept the defeat of segregation and white supremacy? Quite a dilemma huh?

Anonymous said...

Beauvoir is privately owned (by Sons of Confederate Veterans), Dickhead! Consider 'tearing it down' at your own peril. It's been 'torn down' by multiple storms but is always rebuilt. I'm sure it will survive your wrath.

PittPanther said...

Musicians, athletes, artists. That's all we got.

You would think we would be ashamed, but instead you guys are defiant. As usual. You want to keep statues of guys who wanted to break up the Union, in DC. Wow.

Anonymous said...

1:16, speaking of medical pioneers, the first heart transplant in history was accomplished at UMMC. I don't advocate putting a statue of that guy there, though...just answering your musings.

We ought to recognize the person(s) who have brought the most positive benefit to our state, over time. Elvis would be a good one. If the guy who doesn't like entertainers, writers and authors is displeased, he can move.

Messick said...

I'm trying to cut through the sarcasm, White guilt, feigned outrage, Donners (real and imagined), useful idiots, and the Distraction(s) du Jour to post something sentient but I think I'll give up because it's not worth it.

Anonymous said...

Some of you obviously rely on Google to much for your knowledge base. William Winter was a very good suggestion. What about Dr. Arthur C. Guyton ?...

Tear Down That There Statue! said...

William Winter was a cheerleader at Ole Miss and you know what Ole Miss means (wink wink)! Kingfish always, ALWAYS reveals his disdain for anything related to the Confederacy, so he should recuse himself rather than bring up the subject.

It's altogether stupid and unproductive to suggest we name streets, statues, buildings, lakes...after people who have done nothing more than advocate the destruction of history.

How about Federal Judge Keady who abolished chain gangs? Or Jimmie Rogers? Or Fannie Lou Whoever who was sick and tired and stole that comment from my grandmother. John Hinson? Trent Lott? Mike Espy? Bennie Thompson who has brought thousands of jobs to the Delta? Mr. Hederman. Jerry Mitchell. Rims Barber?

Rims for Statue King! said...

Yeah, f**kin-a Rims Barber. Hell of a choice there, Sparky.

PittPanther as usual makes incorrect assumptions. People are saying OK, let's change it. Did you even read the comments? The question is not should we keep Jeff Davis and some guy no one has ever heard of, but who to choose as a replacement, and the very sad truth is that we're going to land on a musician or a ball player because we don't have anything else.

Remember those state quarters when states were coming up with designs for their coins? A friend of mine said, "Two things are certain, South Dakota will put Mount Rushmore on theirs and we'll put a magnolia or a mockingbird on ours." He was mostly correct. We put two magnolias on ours. Zero imagination and not much substance to draw upon here in the Magnolia State.

We love to brag about our musical and literary and athletic heritage (remember those Mississippi: Believe It ads?) but that's mostly fluff (Faulkner excepted). When you drill deeper, the well is dry.

But I forgot ALL ABOUT Rims Barber!

Anonymous said...

1:32: That's pretty darn funny, I don't care who you are!!

Anonymous said...

I've seen multiple remarks lamenting that all we are known for is artists, authors, musicians, and athletes. Throw-in food and you've got "culture" that people the world over choose to celebrate with their highest compliments - their time and money.
Understand that I wish we had a statesman equivalent to George Washington or an inventor/scientist equivalent to Thomas Edison. But let's not lament that all we are known for is the creation of 2 of the 3 forms of truly "American" music. Mississippi produced what is nearly universally thought of as one of the great writers in world history.
Only dullards like me enjoy touring history and science museums. Music, books, visual art, and food are what make people tick, what help them relax for a moment from the trials of their lives. We may be missing a lot, but some of the best American culture ain't on the list.

Anonymous said...

Faulkner with a pipe and 5th in his hand and Kirk Fordice put a gun on his hip and divorce papers in his hand. Best damn thing to happen to Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

I think Jeff Davis & BB King is a nice compromise.

Davis & the CSA are part of American history and Mississippi's history; we shouldn't pretend that era never occurred.

I think Baker should be commended.

Kingfish said...


My submission is a statue of Frank Melton holding an open bottle of vodka in one hand and a sledgehammer in the other.

Fozzy Bear said...

How about replacing both with a bust of Jim Henson and my cousin Melvin Priester Jr.?

Anonymous said...

Jefferson Davis should remain. Like it or not, and many don't, he remains the most consequential politician/statesman in Mississippi history.

As much as I admire our many entertainers and artists, I think the best, and most appropriate, counterpoint to Davis is Medger Evers. I think having both Davis and Evers would be appropriate. Just my own opinion. I know we all have one . . . .

Billboards For Danny O. said...

Yes, by all means, Frank Melton - Mississippi's answer to Michael Jackson, right down to the swimming pool, gated mansion and shag carpet.

Can we consider Danny Owens too? He's meant an awful lot to the taxes flowing into Jackson.

Or Robert Byrd In A Pointy Hat.. said...

"B.B. King an accomplished international musician who rose from humble beginnings...to become the most recognizable icon of an entire genre of music..."

In that regard, B.B.King doesn't hold a candle to Elvis.

"...How would we symbolize Mississippi's hatred of half it's population..."

First, half Mississippi's population is not black. Not by a long stretch. Second, why should we need to symbolize ANY emotion, much less 'hatred'? Elvis has always symbolized love, fairness, benevolence, charity, grace and dignity. From the love he expressed for his mother to his incomparable mastery of gospel genre, he has eclipsed many times over anything accomplished by B.B.King.

Why do we always have to make things a contest between black and white in this state? It's because we've become conditioned to 'feel our disease', with apologies to John Lennon.

Anonymous said...

Aw come on guy's, we can't forget Jerry Clower.

Anonymous said...

1:25 You make a good point. B.B. King expressed love and loyalty to Mississippi to his dying day. Elvis left as soon as he could and like most of America was ashamed to say he ever stopped here. So he would be more representative of Mississippi than anybody. Memphis Tennessee be damned.

Bloo Swade Shooze.. said...

9:38 - Upon what do you base your snide remark about Elvis being ashamed of Mississippi? Naturally he hung out a few miles north in Memphis since there no recording studios in Rienzi or Ecru.

Messick said...

Vernon and Gladys moved young E to Memphis when he was a lad.

Anonymous said...

I am a descendant of JZ George. Although I am not proud of his Confederate past, he is credited with creating what is now the US Department of Agriculture. I would prefer the state take on the substantive task of updating the 1890 Constitution that he helped to author rather than spending time with a symbolic gesture.

Anonymous said...

Elvis was a pill popping druggie and you want him to represent Mississippi....
you deserve better.

Anonymous said...

"Blogger Kingfish said...
My submission is a statue of Frank Melton holding an open bottle of vodka in one hand and a sledgehammer in the other." March 7, 2017 at 4:49 PM

Excellent submission, Kingfish, except that, considering Melton's exceptional ministrations unto the youths of Jackson, instead of a sledgehammer, he should be holding a tube of KY.

Anonymous said...

what good does a house concurrent resolution do?

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