Baltimore Removes Confederate Monuments In Face Of Protests

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Above: Stonewall Jackson being removed. An activist alternative statute of Madre Luz (Mother Light) can be seen in front of the memorial. Photo from the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore, MD – In the dark of the night, Baltimore City government removed four Confederate monuments. The removal began at 11:30 pm on August 15 and was completed at 5:30 am.

Protests had been held against the monuments and more protests were being planned. Two days ago activists created a statue to replace General Robert E. Lee - Madre Luz (Mother Light), a pregnant woman standing with her fist in the air. In addition, another statue, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, had red paint sprayed all over it.

We are currently out of town, but last night we organized so that a protest planned for today would be live streamed on Popular Resistance. Activists were going to build on the success in Durham, NC and pull down a Confederate monument.  We awoke this morning to find the job had been done last night.

The Baltimore Sun reports that:

Confederate statues in Baltimore were removed from their concrete bases overnight, as crews using heavy machinery loaded them onto flat bed trucks and hauled them away, an end to more than a year of indecision surrounding what to do with the memorials.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said the day before the removal that she would follow the recommendations of a year-old task force on how to handle Confederate monuments in Baltimore by appointing a new task force that will “provide a public time line for removal of the monuments.” After ongoing community pressure, the city council voted to remove the statues. In the face of escalating protest, Mayor Pugh changed her mind and decided that appointing a commission was not sufficient. She was concerned about more protests over the monuments to Confederate racism and outsiders coming to Baltimore. Four monuments were removed: the Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson memorial, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Confederate Women’s Monument and the Roger B. Taney Monument.

On  Monday, the Baltimore City Green Party, whose members have been involved in the protests, put out the following statement: “The Baltimore City Green Party (BGP) calls for the immediate removal of the following public monuments to genocidal slavers: the Lee-Jackson Monument, the Women of the Confederacy Monument, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Roger Taney Monument, and both Cristoforo Colombo monuments (Little Italy and Druid Hill Park). Councilman Eric T. Costello, we’re looking for you to actualize the need for anti-racist action at City Hall.” This is consistent with the Green Party of the United States platform which calls “for the removal of all official symbols of slavery”

Pressure is mounting not only in Baltimore but also on officials and candidates for office in Maryland to remove Confederate memorials. There are protests to remove a State House statue depicting Roger Taney, one of the state’s foremost defenders of slavery. Taney authored the 1857 Dred Scott decision which gave African American slaves no human rights and treated them as chattel property. Republican Governor Larry Hogan said he supports the removal of the Taney memorial.  House Speaker Michael E. Busch said Monday that it’s time to take down Maryland’s most prominent Confederate-era monument.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the county council are discussing the possibility of removing a Confederate monument from outside the county’s Circuit Court building in Ellicott City. Council chairman Jon Weinstein said that the monument is likely to be moved to the Howard County Historical Society Museum nearby.

Below are tweets on the protests in Baltimore and the removal of the statutes.’