What’s Next for Baltimore’s Confederate Statues?

“You don’t erect monuments for people who lost wars and were terrorists. They shouldn’t be on display anywhere.” Baltimore Councilman Brandon M. Scott

by: Deborah Bailey Special to the AFRO
/ (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP) /
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The process of removing the Baltimore area’s four Confederate statues—the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, The Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee Monument and the Confederate Women’s Monument, as well as the Roger B. Taney Monument—was expedited after the violence on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia. While the monuments are out of sight, their ultimate fate is still up in the air.

Currently, all four monuments are concealed under tarps in an undisclosed location in the Baltimore area, under police guard.

A monument dedicated to the Confederate Women of Maryland lies on a flatbed trailer early Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, after it was taken down in Baltimore. Local news outlets reported that workers hauled several monuments away early Wednesday, days after a white nationalist rally in Virginia turned deadly. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Following the violent protests by White supremacists in Charlottesville, Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh accelerated the process originally initiated by her predecessor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Rawlings-Blake’s administration issued a report in 2016 outlining several steps needed to “remove but not destroy” two of the city’s four confederate statues.

“I have named Colin Tarbert, a deputy on my Economic Development team, to head the working group to oversee this process,” Pugh said in a statement issued to the AFRO recently.  Pugh had already drafted a letter to the Maryland Historic Trust Easement Committee requesting easements be granted for removing the monuments. The Committee responded expeditiously and removal was able to begin sooner than expected.”

City Council members unanimously passed a resolution this week calling for the outright destruction of the monuments. The resolution, introduced by 2nd District Councilman Brandon M. Scott calls for “the immediate deconstruction of all Confederate Monuments in Baltimore so that they are unable to be placed on public display.”

“We want them to be broken down,” Scott told the AFRO. “We should melt them down and erect statues to folks that really mean something to Baltimore, like Thurgood Marshall and Harriet Tubman. Those are the kinds of people we should be honoring with the material that are in those statutes.”

Pugh said that Tarbert’s working group will determine if either the Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Md. or Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery in Scotland, Md., where Confederate soldiers are currently buried, will accept the statues.  

Armed with the unanimous passage of the City Council, Scott said he will connect with the Mayor’s office immediately to halt the process of sending the statues elsewhere in Maryland.  

“These statues should not be sent to other communities where Black people live.” Scott said. “I can’t simply sit by and let that happen. You don’t erect monuments for people who lost wars and were terrorists. They shouldn’t be on display anywhere.”

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