Fearing a reprisal of the deadly turmoil witnessed in Charlottesville over plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a local park, the Baltimore City Council and Democrat Mayor Catherine Pugh decided to act swiftly to remove statues that might become a similar flashpoint.
Council approved a measure on Monday authorizing the statues’ removal and crews began work at 11:30 last night. By 5:30 this morning, the project was completed, according to Mayor Pugh.
It’s done. They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could.”
Pushing the city to act were activists who threatened yesterday to tear down a statue in Wyman Park Dell. That threat mirrored what happened in Durham, North Carolina on Monday.
The Baltimore monument in question was a dual memorial to Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. This morning, all that was left was an empty stone platform.
Other monuments removed by the city include: the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue; the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway; and the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place.
A Maryland native, Taney was the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court who wrote the 1857 decision in the Dred Scott case that ruled that Americans of African descent, either free or slave, were not American citizens.
After removing the monuments, the city declined to say what will happen with them. Mayor Pugh indicated the city is reviewing options, but hasn’t made any decision. It’s not known where the statues have been taken in the interim.
The removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces should spark a more intelligent and less emotional discussion of where they belong and what they mean to different parts of the American public.
For black Americans, they can be considered offensive and a gross reminder of the indignities and hardships faced by their ancestors.
For some southern Americans, they honor their ancestors who gave up their lives to defend their homeland from the Union army. It all comes down to perspective
From one perspective, the war was fought to preserve the Union, from another perspective it was to abolish slavery, but from yet another perspective, the war was fought to repel an invading army.
A true appreciation of history involves unemotionally considering all perspectives. It’s hard to do that when revisionists want to not tolerate and obliterate one of the perspectives.
That’s what happens in totalitarian societies. It shouldn’t happen in America.