Following this weekend’s violent riots in Charlottesville, VA., Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is calling for the removal of a statue of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney. The Taney statue, which sits on the front lawn of the Maryland State House, was erected in 1872.
The controversy surrounding Taney mainly stems from the fact that he authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision. The decision affirmed the rights of slave owners to take their slaves across the country, and negated the rights of the people in federal territories to decide if slavery was permissible.
Hogan’s support for monument’s removal came after top state officials made the request to do so.
In a statement released by Hogan, he wrote:
“As I said at my inauguration, Maryland has always been a state of middle temperament, which is a guiding principle of our administration. While we cannot hide from our history — nor should we — the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history. With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately.”
According to Michael Busch, the Democratic Maryland House Speaker, “It’s the appropriate time to remove it.” He feels leaving the statue on the grounds of the Maryland State House in Annapolis makes it seem as if officials condone the fact that slavery took place.
Four members of the Maryland State House Trust will need to vote to remove the statue of Taney. Busch, Hogan and Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D). Miller released a statement Monday, saying he prefers the monument remain, but he would vote with Hogan.
“While there is a flawed history surrounding Justice Roger Taney, he was not a Confederate figure,” Miller wrote. “As a student of history, I personally believe there is greater value in educating and providing context to Justice Taney and the inflammatory language of the Dred Scott decision rather than removing his statue from the State House grounds.
“At the same time, however, the Governor is the leader of our State, and the Chair of the State House Trust. Should he support removal, I will not stand in the way of his decision.”
— Kate Ryan (@KateRyanWTOP) August 15, 2017
— Vic Carter WJZ (@VicWJZ) August 15, 2017
The violence in Virginia is causing other government officials to question “symbols of the Confederacy” in their own states.
A group protesting the existence of a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Nashville, Tennessee gathered at the Tennessee Capitol on Monday, asking leaders to take it down. They say he was a Confederate leader and a former member of the KKK.
In Louisville, Kentucky, a Confederate officer statue was splattered with orange paint. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer responded by saying that a panel would review the city’s public art, then make a list of those linked to bigotry, racism or slavery.
In Memphis, a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest is under attack. City attorney Bruce McMullen said Monday that he plans to file a petition to remove it from a park.
In Florida, workers in downtown Gainesville tore out the foundation of a Confederate statue, known as “Old Joe,” in front of the Alachua County Administration Building.
A Confederate soldier’s monument in Durham was toppled on Monday, the angry mob responsible saying the disgraceful crime was in protest of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The riots in Charlottesville began with a protest over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Lee Park. The decision sparked outrage among some members of the community, and they gathered to protest the city council’s decision.
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