Christian Science Committees on Publications
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
To our fine neighbors who revere their Confederate soldier ancestors: We wish to take nothing away from the honor you feel, we feel the same way about ours. And some of us have relatives on both sides. It is human and respectful of the dead.
Fifty years ago I was a volunteer in a controversial war myself. Just like the Civil War, we were recruited and lied to by powerful old white guys. We were not heroes. We were mostly 18 and 19 year old cannon fodder. You may think of your statue as wonderful, but it carries entitlement and an ugly knee-on-the-neck message to our other friends and neighbors. Please acknowledge just a little of this and help us move it anywhere else. It can be done cooperatively and with honor for all, or it can be taken down and just hauled away. Your call.
Jim Crow and everything about it is one race treating another race like dirt. Tulsa, lynchings, dragging and slaughters are visible and awful enough. Financial abuse, redlining, highways dividing or destroying poor neighborhoods are just as demeaning, insulting and inhuman.
But even today it gets a “that’s too bad” or a shrug and “that’s the way it is”. Haven’t you had enough?
With all of this long history, both over the last 155 years and today, quietly as well as violently, certain people have made life for former slaves and their families an existence of a quiet and/or violent hell. I repeat, haven’t you had enough?
Come on County Council, be true leaders and do what is right, and stop looking over your shoulder to hear who is right.
Move It Now, please.
Easton (Maryland born)
Time to change your vote
Being a Talbot Council member is a tough job — many important decisions to be made and no shortage of critics. But Council members were elected to be leaders in the County; to listen to constituents; to become informed about factual issues; and to make decisions that are in the best interests of the County. The three Council members who have consistently opposed moving the Talbot Boys Confederate Monument need to take a difficult step — namely they need to let their views evolve and vote for removal.
Over months of discussion we have learned much more about the Monument— not only when it was installed and where it was made, but more importantly how hurtful it is to our Black citizens. The discussion about the Monument has reminded us how our Black citizens were harmed by the Jim Crow laws that came into effect after the Civil War. Long after slavery was abolished, they were treated as second class citizens. Access to education, to good jobs, and to equal justice in the courts were all restricted.
The Monument is a reminder of those dark parts our history — slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow — that harmed Black families. The Monument does not belong in front of our courthouse — a place that should be aspiring to provide equal justice for all.
These three Council members need to acknowledge that times have changed. Across the country, a new awareness of images and words that perpetuate racism has resulted in numerous changes such as statues being removed, state flags being changed, and state songs being amended.
Leaders have to make hard decisions, including deciding that with new information they need to change their position on an important issue — in this case, they should courageously vote in favor of removing the Monument from the courthouse grounds.
Sarah Ramsey and Robert Kelly
Having monitored arguments for and against moving the Talbot Boys statue and participating in past hearings, I’ve shared these observations with our County Council regarding current efforts to relocate the Talbot Boys.
The reason we’re hearing most frequently to keep the statue in its present location is to preserve Talbot’s rich history. That is a noble cause. We don’t want to forget what happened.
But monuments on public grounds are understood to be representative of public speech. So when a monument is understood to commemorate, honor, or celebrate a treasonous effort to divide our nation and preserve slavery, it would ideally not be located on public property.
We have also been offered the suggestion that the Talbot Boys should stay because Confederate soldiers were pardoned and therefore considered to be innocent. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field offered this opinion in Ex parte Garland: Regarding a presidential pardon, “in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offense.”
But this is an opinion, not a ruling. We also have Supreme Court Justice Joseph McKenna’s majority opinion in Burdick v. United States: A pardon “carries an imputation of guilt, acceptance, a confession of it.” In any case, a pardon is defined as an executive order granting clemency for a conviction, and is ordinarily granted in recognition of an applicant’s acceptance of responsibility.
We also have precedent. When monuments are found to represent a violation of basic international standards of human rights, in nations that respect these standards, they are removed.
In any case, we have green space in Talbot County, and we could surely find a more suitable location for the Talbot Boys to remind us of our history without upsetting so many of our citizens.
Hoping this will be resolved soon, and thank you for your attention to this matter.
In his recent letter to the Star Democrat Ron Frampton glosses over one of the major reasons why the Talbot Boys Statue must be moved from the Courthouse Lawn.
He is not apparently moved by the argument that the everyday lives of fellow citizens (“Complainants”) are negatively impacted. In fact, seeing the names of people who may have enslaved your great-great-great grandparent celebrated with a statue could painfully diminish your sense of standing as you walk into the courthouse. He suggests that “those arguments have no bearing for relief.” How about some empathy here.
Just move the statue elsewhere. That would be fitting “relief” for the nearly five thousand current Talbot Countians whose ancestors were enslaved here.
If we are not African Americans, why should we care about Juneteenth and a boys’ statue in the park? Don’t we have more important things to worry about? The straight answer is no; the coming Juneteenth and the Easton demonstration is crucial for all of us. Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery, when the Union Army liberated the last slaves in Galveston, Texas. But this year, the demonstration planned for Easton has a greater significance. It’s an opportunity to banish the specter of segregation, once for all from Talbot County. And that can only be achieved through the active participation of all of us, the non-African Americans.
Let’s not fool ourselves; the Talbot Boys monument was not erected to celebrate Civil War heroes. Talbot could have honored the eighteen former slaves from Unionville who joined the 7th Regiment of the Union Colored Infantry. They drove away Lee’s troops from Richmond, and beat him in Appomattox, assuring us the one Nation indivisible that we honor in the Pledge of Allegiance. But we didn’t. The eighteen brave soldiers of Unionville are humbly buried in St Stephen’s Church Cemetery, while Talbot County in 1916 chose to celebrate the Confederate Army with a monument at the county courtroom lawn.
People talk about preserving history, but first, we have to understand it. The Talbot Boys statue was not an isolated monument. It was part of a set of concerted hostilities against the newly liberated African Americans after the Civil War. It was the time of Jim Crow laws and regulations. The eighteen of Unionville were free and equal, but the true is that Maryland wanted them separated. African Americans, heroes or not, were forced to travel in separate cars in trains, steamboats, and streetcars, and in 1884, the Maryland legislature reaffirmed its opposition to interracial marriage. A person guilty of this “infamous” crime could be sentenced to imprisonment for between 18 months to ten years.
Even the 15th Amendment ensuring African Americans the right to vote that was ratified by the U.S. Congress in 1870, was rejected by the State of Maryland. Three amendments were proposed on our State, explicitly threatening to eliminate African Americans’ right to vote, the Poe Amendment (1905), the Strauss Amendment (1908), and the Digges Amendment (1910). All of them were rejected by Maryland voters, indicating that the citizens’ majority did not support racist political decisions.
At the beginning of the century, former slaves emancipated by the Union started to move to the cities, and in 1910 a Baltimore city ordinance prohibited African Americans from buying or living on blocks where a majority of existing occupants were white. And that is when, to reaffirm its choice, the city of Easton erected the Talbot Boys statue. And if you think that the Easton statue is unique, you are wrong. Many statues celebrating the Confederate Army were built around those years, including the South Defenders Monument in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is an exact twin statue of the Talbot Boys, funded by the Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization that also financed a Ku Klux Klan monument in Concord, North Carolina.
The Talbot Boys is not an innocent and harmless monument. Its purpose was to reaffirm segregation, and we, the non-African American citizens of Talbot, are also responsible for it. Juneteenth is our chance for reconciliation. We can silently stay at home or go to the street to loudly and indisputably say that there is no more place for racism and segregation in Talbot County.
For more than 100 years, the Talbot Boys Confederate Monument has been standing tall on courthouse property.
Supporters of the Move the Monument Coalition were asked: “Why do you want the Talbot Boys Confederate Monument moved from the courthouse?” By following this link , right below the graph, you can hear their very personal, heartfelt responses as part of the Voices of Justice Project.
Missed the opportunity to share your reasons for why the monument should be moved?
Your voice can be heard by joining us Saturday, June 19th for a March and Rally to move the Confederate monument off courthouse property.
The march will begin at 11 a.m. near Easton Marketplace shopping center, 219 Marlboro Ave., Easton, and end with a rally at noon on the courthouse lawn. Speakers will include clergy, elected officials and civil rights advocates.
Coalition members have been working closely with the Sheriff and County Health Department to be sure all safety protocol is followed.
Help make the courthouse fully become our county symbol of democracy and our shared home for the rule of law, fair and equal justice.
Move the Monument Coalition
Several weeks ago town commissioners Dupont and Breimhurst were caught by another commissioner in what seemed to be misleading statements and lies around the business support they claimed for their massive cut to the town’s advertising budget. They chose to scold that peer commissioner for accusing them of lying about what was discussed in a meeting between them and two business owners.
Not two weeks later, during the April 27th meeting, commissioner Breimhurst began the meeting by reading a statement about having “misrepresented” what actually was discussed in that meeting with two business owners. Commissioner Dupont agreeing “wholeheartedly” with the statement. The statement contained an apology to the two business owners…twice…but there was no apology to the commissioner who originally pointed out their lie. Nor was there any apology to the residents for having lied to all of us about their plan. Instead, their statement seemed to be making excuses for their action. The statement itself seemed to be defending why they lied much more than apologizing for doing so.
The real question has to be “why did the commissioners need to lie about their plan?” The era of Alternative Facts is over, or it should be! We need political leadership that presents Real Facts. Anything less can not be trusted and is unacceptable.
Some six years ago, it was discovered the photographic negatives of the Talbot Historical Society were rapidly deteriorating, some over one hundred years old. Alarmed, the Board of Directors instructed the staff to seek ways to reverse the decline. Experts recommended scanning the negatives using a computer and digital scanner. The negatives would then be saved and could easily be catalogued and stored. A start-up grant from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation enabled two computer workstations, with scanners, to be built. Also, the grant enabled the hiring of contractors to begin the long process as there were nearly 70,000 negatives.
Additional grants were received from the Ruth and Robert St. John Foundation, the Llandaff Family Foundation, and the Talbot County Government . Led by Board Member Cathy Hill, local resident Gary Rockwell was hired to manage the project; his wife, Patti, became the lead scanner, assisted by Allie Selzler and others.
Through many ups and downs, the scanning continued year and year, even during adverse weather and office moves. Recently, the project has been completed with almost all of the 70,000 negatives scanned successfully. Past President Larry Denton said, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been more important for the Society than saving the pictorial history of Talbot County. This is an incredible accomplishment and all involved deserve an enormous ‘job well done’. President Richard Trippe, speaking for the Board of Directors, “These photos are not only preserved, but are now catalogued so researches and others can access them routinely.” General Manager Peggy Morey is overseeing the use of the photo collection in the new Hill Research Center, and says activity has been brisk.
The pictorial history of Talbot County has been saved forever – a truly remarkable event!
Former Executive Director
Talbot Historical Society