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State Rep. Joe Mullery pushes for a bust of Nellie Stone Johnson at the Capitol

The proposal would honor the civil rights and labor leader with the Capitol’s first bust, plaque or statue of a woman of color.

Nellie Stone Johnson, the late civil rights and labor leader who died in 2002, would be honored with a bust displayed in the state Capitol, under a bill introduced by state Rep. Joe Mullery of Minneapolis.

She’s known for influencing Hubert H. Humphrey in his civil rights battles.

If passed and implemented, a bust of Johnson would be the first plaque, statue or bust of a woman of color to be installed in the Capitol, says a story by House Public Information Services.

Says the story:

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Johnson was the first black woman to hold citywide office when she was elected to the Minneapolis Library Board in 1945. And on a national level, she was the first woman to serve on a contract negotiation committee.

Mullery is pushing the bust idea, even though he was stymied once before by a rule that apparently requires 25 years to pass after a person’s death before getting such an honor, the story says.

“She is the most important civil rights leader in Minnesota history that actually stayed in Minnesota,” Mullery said.