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Gov. Hutchinson gives update on Daisy Bates, Johnny Cash statues

More than half a million dollars in private donations have been raised. Donations for the statues are now welcome from the public.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson says the state has exceeded its fundraising goal of private donations to replace statues representing Arkansas in our nation’s capital.

Hutchinson says it's on to the public phase of the fundraising campaign.

Sometime soon the statues of music legend Johnny Cash and civil rights icon Daisy Gatson Bates will be put in a place of honor in the National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C.

“In the last 100 years, Arkansas has changed as a state, but the changes that we have seen as a state are reflected in our nation’s capital," Hutchinson said.

Bates and Cash are replacing the statues of former Governor James Clarke and Uriah Rose, a 19th-century attorney.

“We settled on Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash and I think now when kids go to the capital, they’re going to see some people that they know and can be proud of. I think it’s exciting," said Arkansas State Senator Jim Hendren, of Gravette.

It’s unclear what will happen to the statues of Clarke and Rose but they will likely be returned to Arkansas and preserved.

“History cannot be sanitized, it is what it is, and we need to preserve it so that it does not happen again," said Leah Whitehead, President of Benton County Historical Society. 

Millions of people visit the statuary hall every year.

Cash’s statue will be placed in the visitor’s center. 

"This is a son of Arkansas who traveled the world many times over but never loved a spot on earth as much as the one he represents in this magnificent place," said Shane Broadway, National Statuary Hall Steering Committee.

Bates’ statue will reside across from another civil rights icon, Rosa Parks.

“It will stand as a testament throughout time to the belief that access to education is a key to success," said Charles King with the Daisy Bates Foundation. 

The news comes one day after what would have been Bates' 106th birthday.

Renderings of the statues are not available just yet and artists are currently working on putting ideas together.

The public phase of fundraising is now open.

To can donate and become a part of history click here.

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