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Future Congressman James Ashley helped 24 slaves escape from bondage in Kentucky when he was 17.The Research History class at Washington High School is working to see that their favorite abolitionist gets a spot in the U.S. Capitol. For these students from Washington Court House, Ohio, the obvious choice to replace a statue of Governor William Allen is abolitionist and former Congressman James M. Ashley, who served in the House of Representatives from 1858 to 1868. They’re lobbying the National Statu­ary Collection Study Committee on Ash­ley’s behalf, with the support of their teacher, Paul LaRue.

From an early age, Ashley pas­sion­ately ad­vocated the end of slavery. He was active in the Underground Railroad as a youth and later helped draft the 13th Amendment.

Class members Chris Blair and Sara Monroe said that what really excites the students about Ashley is that he was so ahead of his time: “Even in Ashley’s district, his views far exceeded those of people around him….It is amazing that they voted for him and allowed him to present his case in Congress.”