A lamp that’s a statue of a slave will stay on public display in the Vermont Statehouse, but not on the Statehouse office desk of Governor Jim Douglas. The lamp is a replica of a nineteenth century sculpture of a nude woman about to be sold into slavery. It was a symbol of American abolitionists before the Civil War.
Last week Douglas administration officials said they wanted it out of the office because of concerns it could be damaged and because of the nudity. Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs now says the lamp will be on display during the session, but not on the governor’s desk.
The original statue was sculpted in the nineteenth century by Hiram Powers. A group preparing to celebrate the artist’s bicentennial wants Douglas to leave a replica of Powers’ most famous work on his Statehouse desk.