Keller Statue

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After a walk through the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall Thursday, Alabama first lady Patsy Riley declared the corridor a "forest of men."

Plans are in the works to replace one of the two existing Alabama statues with one depicting a young Helen Keller, the deaf and blind Tuscumbia native who learned to communicate with finger-on-hand spelling and became an inspiration to people around the world.

Keller's statue would replace an existing one of Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, a former congressman, Confederate general and professor.

Curry's statue has been in the Capitol since 1908. The state's other statue, installed in 1925, is of Joseph Wheeler, who was an officer for the Confederate Army and the U.S. Army.

Joseph Busta Junior of the University of South Alabama said about $250,000 has been raised so far, and it would cost an estimated $350,000 to $400,000 to build the statue, transport it to Washington and hold a reception.

An artist could be selected in the next two weeks, but it could be two years or more before the statue takes its spot in the Capitol.