Confederate statues are being pulled down across the South — from Birmingham, Ala., to Decatur, Ga., to Richmond, Va., the Confederacy’s former capital. The U.S. Navy and the Marines have banned public displays of the Confederate battle flag — as has NASCAR.
Now, Congress is taking its own halting steps forward. On Thursday, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, announced that portraits of four former House speakers who also served the Confederacy would be removed from display in the Capitol in observance of the Juneteenth holiday. (June 19 marks the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news of the end of slavery — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It has come to be a more general celebration of liberation.)