Given by Alabama in 1908
Replaced in 2009 by statue of Helen Keller
Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry, born in Lincoln County, Georgia, on June 5, 1825, grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Georgia in 1843. While studying at Harvard Law School, Curry was inspired by the lectures of Horace Mann and became an advocate of free universal education. He served in the Mexican War; in the Alabama State Legislature in 1847, 1853, and 1855; in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1857-1861; and in the Confederate Congress. As a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army, he was a staff aide to General Joseph E. Johnston and General Joseph Wheeler.
After the war he studied for the ministry and became a preacher, but the focus of his work was free education in the South. He traveled and lectured in support of state normal schools, adequate rural schools, and a system of graded public schools. He was president of Howard College, Alabama, and a professor at Richmond College, Virginia. From 1881 until his death he was agent for the Peabody and Slater Funds to aide schools in the South and was instrumental in the founding of the Southern Education Board.
Curry served as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Spain during 1885-1888 and as ambassador extraordinary to Spain on the coming of age of King Alfonso in 1902. His publications include works on education, American government, and Spanish history. He was awarded the Royal Order of Charles III and several honorary degrees. Curry died on February 12, 1903, and is buried in Richmond, Virginia.