Norton Bill to Place D.C. Seal with State Seals in the Library of Congress Main Reading Room Passes Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 21, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — In another victory for equality for the District of Columbia, the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today passed her bill to require the Library of Congress to install the District’s seal in the stained-glass windows of the Thomas Jefferson Building’s Main Reading Room, which contains the seals of all states and territories that existed when the building was constructed, except for the District seal.

As evidence that the seal should have been included, Norton said that the Members of Congress room in the Jefferson Building, which is not open to the public, has a painted depiction of the D.C. seal, along with the state seals, on its ceiling. Norton thanked her colleagues for recognizing the District’s rightful place among the states. The seal would be added to the reading room as part of a larger stained-glass restoration project.

“As the District struggles to obtain statehood, we must leave no opportunity behind to take our rightful place among the states,” Norton said. “D.C. residents will finally be able to walk into the beautiful Thomas Jefferson Building’s Main Reading Room in their own city with pride and see their seal among the states, another step in recognition of our equality with other Americans. I particularly appreciate the unanimous support from my Transportation and Infrastructure Committee colleagues.”

The District seal’s omission was brought to Norton’s attention by a District resident, Luis Landau, a former docent at the Library. Congress already includes the District of Columbia, or has corrected the omission of the District, when honoring the states. For example, the District of Columbia War Memorial honors District residents who served in World War I, the World War II Memorial includes a column representing the District, the flag of the District is displayed among the flags of the fifty states in the tunnel connecting the House office buildings to the Capitol, and D.C.’s Frederick Douglass statue now sits in the Capitol alongside statues from the 50 states. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 requires the armed services to display the District flag whenever the flags of the states are displayed. Legislation was also enacted to give D.C. a coin after it was omitted from legislation creating coins for the 50 states. Norton also successfully worked with the U.S. Postal Service to create a D.C. stamp, like the stamps for the 50 states, and worked with the National Park Service to add the D.C. flag alongside the state flags across from Union Station.

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