Montgomery County Council Passes Resolution to Support Removing the Name of Francis G. Newlands, a White Supremacist, From Memorial Fountain in Chevy Chase

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 26, 2022

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 26, 2022 — The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously today to pass a resolution affirming Montgomery County’s support for H.R. 1256, the Francis G. Newlands Memorial Removal Act. The resolution was introduced by Council Vice President Evan Glass, along with Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Will Jawando. Introduced in the U.S. Congress by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the federal resolution would remove Francis G. Newlands’ name from the grounds of the memorial fountain located in Chevy Chase Circle. The resolution is co-sponsored by Council President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Craig Rice, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Hans Riemer and Nancy Navarro.

United States Senator Francis G. Newlands, who founded the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland in the 1880s was an outspoken white supremacist who actively sought to strip voting rights from African Americans. As a developer, Newlands built communities that excluded immigrants, Jews and others from living there. While in office, Senator Newlands advocated for the repeal of the 15th amendment, published journals that called for expelling African Americans from the United States, and advocated for “White Plank” policies that would have allowed immigration to the United States only to white people. “Montgomery County is one of the most diverse communities in the United States and we celebrate that every day,” said Council Vice President Evan Glass (At-Large).  “All residents should feel a sense of inclusion and connection, not alienation, when they travel around our beautiful community. The legacy of hatred, bigotry, antisemitism and racism has no place here.”

“Our government should not be celebrating segregationists. The Francis G. Newlands Memorial Removal Act will take racism off a public pedestal,” said Rep. Raskin. “Francis Newlands worked to deny Black Americans, Jews and immigrants in our community of equal rights and dignity. I appreciate the Montgomery County Council for passing Council Vice President Glass’s resolution in support of the Francis G. Newlands Memorial Removal Act and thank the members for their support.” “The Francis G. Newlands Memorial Removal Act will send a strong message repudiating housing discrimination and segregation which should not be accepted or tolerated in Montgomery County, our Nation’s Capital, or anywhere,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson (District 1). “For too long, this statue has represented exclusion and division rather than a welcome sign to an inclusive community. As we do the critical work of dismantling the structures that perpetuate institutional racism, the symbols and statues that normalize it matter, too.”

“Senator Newlands instituted segregation in the developments in and around Chevy Chase, and sought to strip voting rights from people of color. I look forward to the day when the plaque on the memorial constructed in his honor is removed and more worthy residents are honored in his place,” said Councilmember Will Jawando (At-Large). In acts of solidarity, Montgomery County has changed the names of streets and roadways that had been dedicated to residents who espoused beliefs contrary to what we stand for today. In 2020, both the D.C. Chevy Chase Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Maryland Chevy Chase Village Board of Managers adopted resolutions calling on the National Park Service to remove the plaque bearing Sen. Newlands’ name. The resolution can be found here.

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