PIQUA — The city of Piqua formally dedicated a statue of Congressman William M. McCulloch on Thursday.
The statue was donated to the city by James F. Dicke II, who is chairman and CEO of Crown Equipment, as a way to honor McCulloch’s contributions to the civil rights movement.
The statue of McCulloch has been in Piqua since January, sitting outside of the Piqua Public Library. The McCulloch statue faces east toward Washington D.C. to symbolize him watching over it “to ensure equal rights for all,” according the city of Piqua.
McCulloch, who had a law practice in Piqua, served five terms as a U.S. Congressman and was well-known for his efforts in securing the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Dicke, who is from New Bremen, worked for two summers in McCulloch’s congressional office in Washington, D.C., between the time of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.
“It was a privilege of mine to work for this great man,”said Dicke.
Dicke previously campaigned to have a statue of McCulloch as Ohio’s second statue at the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol Building. They came in third place when the state decided to replace its statue of William Allen, the 31st governor of Ohio, with one of Thomas Edison in 2016.
Dicke said when he was working for McCulloch, he hated the idea of “pestering him questions,” so he would limit himself to asking McCulloch one question each day. One day, he asked McCulloch what he thought the most significant part of his career was, and he said the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“This was a lifelong passion of his,”said Dicke, referencing civil rights.
Mike Gutmann, a local attorney at McCulloch Felger Fite & Gutmann, also spoke about McCulloch’s life leading up to his time advocating for civil rights in Congress. Gutmann said McCulloch was born in 1901 near Holmesville as the only son on a family farm, learning to rise early to complete farm chores before going to school. He was the only member of his family to pursue higher education, attending the College of Wooster and later studying law at The Ohio State University. He later opened a law practice in Piqua, before being a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1933 to 1944. McCulloch served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945. McCulloch was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives via a special election in Nov. 1947 and served as the representative of Ohio’s 4th district until Jan. 1973.
McCulloch later died on Feb. 22, 1980 from a heart attack.
Ben Thaeler, a representative from U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson’s office, congratulated everyone in attendance on the official unveiling of the statue on Thursday.
“Congressman McCulloch is an American hero and a model statesmen,” Thaeler said. “This is a well-deserved honor.”
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