Civil rights leader Daisy Bates, singer Johnny Cash to be honored with statues at US Capitol

Civil Rights activist Daisy Bates, 1958. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)/Singer Johnny Cash poses for a portrait in 2002 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

Civil rights leader Daisy Bates and Musician Johnny Cash will be honored with statues at the U.S. Capitol, representing the state of Arkansas. 

Bates' statue will be installed this week, while Cash's statue will be installed later this year. 

Bates, who headed the state NAACP, mentored the Black students known as the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in 1957. She is a well-known civil rights figure in Arkansas, where a downtown street in the capital, Little Rock, is named in her honor. The state also marks Daisy Bates Day on Presidents' Day.

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The 8-foot tall bronze statue depicts Bates, who with her husband published the Arkansas State Press newspaper, walking with a newspaper in her arm. She holds a notebook and pen in one hand and wears a NAACP pin and rose on her lapel.

Cash was born in Kingsland, a tiny town about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Little Rock. He died in 2003 at age 71. His achievements include 90 million records sold worldwide spanning country, rock, blues, folk and gospel. He was among the few artists inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The 8-foot (2.4-meter) tall statue of Cash depicts the singer with a guitar slung across his back and a Bible in his hand. Little Rock sculptor Kevin Kresse, who was selected to create the statue, has sculpted other musical figures from Arkansas such as Al Green, Glen Campbell and Levon Helm.

The Bates and Cash statues will replace ones depicting James P. Clarke, a former governor and U.S. senator in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and Uriah Rose, a 19th century attorney. The statues had come under scrutiny, especially over racist comments Clarke made calling on the Democratic Party to preserve "white standards."

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Republican Sen. Bart Hester, a Republican who is now the Senate president pro tem, began calling for the statues to be replaced in 2018. Clarke Tucker, Clarke's great-great-grandson and a Democratic state senator, also called for his ancestor's statue to come down.

Sen. David Wallace, who sponsored the legislation to replace the previous sculptures, said he hoped the new statues would tell people more about the types of figures Arkansas has produced over the years.

"We wanted to do the common person that represented Arkansas," Wallace said. "And I think that with Daisy Bates and with Johnny Cash, we covered the spectrum in Arkansas. Just, they represent the common folks of Arkansas."

The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.