Bronze statue of noted American author Willa Cather unveiled in US Capitol

Jun 7, 2023, 12:24 PM

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., speaks during an unveiling ceremony for the Congressional statue of Willa...

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., speaks during an unveiling ceremony for the Congressional statue of Willa Cather, in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 7, 2023. Willa Cather was one of the country's most beloved authors, writing about the Great Plains and the spirit of America. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Willa Cather, the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author renowned for her portrayal of the lives of pioneer settlers in the U.S. Heartland, was honored Wednesday with the unveiling of a bronze statue in her likeness in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.

The statue’s creator, Littleton Alston, a professor of sculpture at Creighton University, is the first Black artist to have work represented in the national collection.

Cather, whose works include “My Ántonia” and “O Pioneers,” spent her young years in Red Cloud, Nebraska, and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1895. She won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel “One of Ours.”

U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, a Republican from Nebraska, noted that Cather was a trailblazer in the literary world who has earned a lasting place among the great American writers.

And U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska said Cather’s fiction “truly feels like it grew from the soil of Nebraska.”

“For decades until her death in 1947, Cather was unable to shake her creative spirit away from its home on the open plains of the Heartland,” Fischer said.

Officials also recognized Alston.

“You’re work inspires us, and hopefully this experience can inspire all of us in this room to go home and to do a little bit more than we ever thought we could,” Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen said.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told the crowd that Cather’s prose is still celebrated because it gave a voice to pioneers who chose to take a chance for a better life.

“Nebraskans are lucky to call Willa Cather one of their own,” McCarthy said. “But ultimately, her work belongs here because it is American to the core. Her authenticity, emotion, artistry spoke of Americans’ fundamental values. Ultimately, it reminds us that this is a land of opportunity.”

Each state has two statues at the U.S. Capitol, with many in the Statuary Hall. Nebraska’s other statue, of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, was unveiled in 2019.

U.S. Rep. Hakeen Jeffries of New York, the Democratic minority leader of the House, said Cather was the first Pulitzer Prize winner and 12th woman recognized in the collection. He said she and Standing Bear captured “the heart and soul of the great state of Nebraska.”

“Her stories are the stories of people who risked everything,” Jeffries said. “She captured in such a powerful way the story of America and our country’s exceptionalism.”

National News

In a frame grab from video, Kyan Bovee flies over Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. The Detroit teen...

Associated Press

Black teens learn to fly and aim for careers in aviation in the footsteps of Tuskegee Airmen

DETROIT (AP) — Marie Ronny and Kyan Bovee expect their futures to take off. Literally. The Black teens from Detroit are part of a free program teaching young people how to fly, while exposing them to careers in aviation, an industry in which people of color are traditionally underrepresented. Their classrooms are the skies above […]

4 minutes ago

Adnan Amin, CEO and number two official at the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, ans...

Associated Press

Top warming talks official hopes for ‘course correction’ and praises small steps in climate efforts

NEW YORK (AP) — A top official helping to oversee upcoming international climate negotiations hopes to prove critics wrong — and surprise them with a “course correction” for an ever-warming world. But don’t expect that big a turn. Adnan Amin, the CEO and No. 2 official at the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai […]

19 minutes ago

A volunteer from the GAF Roofing Academy helps replace the roof of Joe Capers, who has lived in New...

Associated Press

Back at old job, Anthony Mackie lends star power to New Orleans’ post-Ida roof repair effort

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Movie star Anthony Mackie was back in his home town — and back at an old job — as he took part in a program to repair roofs damaged by natural disasters for people who aren’t financially or physically able to get the work done themselves. The New Orleans-born Mackie, perhaps […]

26 minutes ago

Becky Hormuth poses for a photo with her son Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Wentzville, Mo. About fo...

Associated Press

Some providers are dropping gender-affirming care for kids even in cases where it’s legal

ST. LOUIS (AP) — As Republican-led states have rushed to ban gender-affirming for minors, some families with transgender children found a bit of solace: At least they lived in states that would allow those already receiving puberty blockers or hormone therapy to continue. But in some places, including Missouri and North Dakota, the care has […]

36 minutes ago

Associated Press

Weapons charges dropped in 2018 raid on family compound in desert that turned up child’s remains

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two firearms charges were dismissed Thursday amid preparations for a trial against an extended family arrested in a 2018 law enforcement raid on a ramshackle desert compound in northern New Mexico and the discovery of a young boy’s decomposed body. The changes narrow the case to terrorism and kidnapping charges […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Sabreen Sharrief, right, reaches out to hug fellow plaintiff Dorothy Triplett after testifyi...

Associated Press

Mississippi high court blocks appointment of some judges in majority-Black capital city and county

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday struck down part of a state law that would have authorized some circuit court judges to be appointed rather than elected in the capital city of Jackson and the surrounding county, which are both majority-Black. Critics said the law was an effort by the majority-white […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Bronze statue of noted American author Willa Cather unveiled in US Capitol