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National Cathedral to replace Confederate stained glass windows with racial justice images

Black artist to design new windows
National Cathedral Confederate Windows
Posted at 12:31 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 12:31:07-04

The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., announced Thursday that it had chosen a Black artist to design stained-glass windows to replace windows with Confederate imagery that were removed from the church in 2017.

The Cathedral said Thursday that artist Kerry James Marshall will design the new windows, which will depict the "African American struggle for justice and equality."

"We're excited to share a new and more complete story, to tell the truth about our past and to lift up who we aspire to be as a nation," said Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, said the dean of Washington National Cathedral in a press release.

Marshall, a former professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, is known for his paintings of Black life in America.

"This project is not just a job – I don't need the work – or only a piece of art. It's kind of a calling, and a real honor to be asked," Marshall said in a press release from the Cathedral. "The themes that the Cathedral committee articulated set a great challenge for me as an artist and as a Black American man. The goal is to make truly meaningful additions to an already rich and magnificent institution, to make the changes they have embraced truly worth the effort."

Marshall's new design will replace windows that featured images of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the windows were installed in the church in 1953 — 88 years after the fall of the Confederacy.

The Cathedral first began considering the removal of the windows in 2016, when the church established a task force to look into the issue. The windows were removed a year later, following the deadly right-wing protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, that were prompted by the potential removal of a statue of Lee.

The windows were loaned to the Smithsonian following their removal.