Press Releases

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate has approved legislation to name the Great Hall in the new Capitol Visitor Center “Emancipation Hall.”  Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is a co-sponsor of the legislation, which was introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

“The Senate has taken an important step by approving legislation to name the great hall of the new Capitol Visitor Center “Emancipation Hall.”  This will serve to both recognize the end of slavery in the United States and pay tribute to the enslaved people who helped to construct the Capitol building,” Senator Feinstein said. 

“The Emancipation Proclamation was an important commitment by the government to end the centuries-long injustice of slavery.  By sustaining the history of this great act, we highlight the importance of freedom. 

“Three million people are expected to pass through the Capitol Visitor Center each year.  And Emancipation Hall will be an ideal place for visitors to reflect upon the construction of the United States Capitol, and to recognize the slaves who helped build it.”

Senator Feinstein has also pledged to work with the Congressional Slave Labor Task Force to review their recommendations for acknowledging and commemorating the work that slaves performed in constructing the Capitol.

A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) and Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.).   The measure was approved by the House on Tuesday, November 13, 2007.

Senator Feinstein is Chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee and the Joint Committee on the Library, which oversees Capitol artwork.