The statue of a former Ohio governor and lawyer who supported slave owners was taken down in the US Capitol Building this week.
The white marble statue of William Allen stood in the US Capitol Building for more than 100 years and was replaced this week by a bronze statue of Thomas Edison.
The Ohio legislature had been working on making the change for several years.
Allen served as an Ohio Senator from 1837 to 1849. He was a member of the Democratic Party that was, during that era, soliciting pro-slavery rights and championing the right of popular sovereignty. An outspoken critic of Abraham Lincoln’s administration, Allen believed that each state and territory should determine for itself the issue of slavery.
Allen was elected as Ohio’s 31st governor in 1874 at the age of 70 after the Civil War ended and an economic collapse caused a panic. He died two years later while in office.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman delivered remarks during the unveiling of the Edison statue.
He said Edison was not a guy who was destined for greatness, as he was near deaf and didn’t do well in school.
“His teacher told his mom one day that [Edison] was addled and too stupid to learn anything because of his disability. Interesting lesson there isn’t it? But he had something that other kids didn’t have; he had an amazing work ethic and he had this determination and perseverance and will to succeed,” said Portman.
“So he left school, but by age 14 he was already an entrepreneur. He was doing things, making things, and he was selling newspapers in concessions on this new railroad system that America had put in place. He was sort of ahead of his time.”
Each state has at least two statues displayed in the US Capitol Building. The Thomas Edison statue joins Ohio’s other statue, one of former president James Garfield.
The Allen statue was taken to Chillicothe, where it is now displayed at the Ross County Heritage Center.
The full ceremony of the unveiling of the Thomas Edison statue can be viewed online at http://tinyurl.com/hoa9hwu or by following the video link at www.recordherald.com
Reach Ashley on Twitter @ashbunton or at the Record-Herald (740) 313-0355
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