This video is about 38 minutes long.
Although a federal judge may have the final say, advocates for moving the Confederate monument from the courthouse lawn and those who want it to remain voiced their opinions Tuesday night, June 8.
The issue has been the predominant topic of public comments over the past year as the Talbot County Council met virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic and remained so for the council’s first in-person meeting in more than a year.
For those who want to Move Talbot’s Confederate Monument, the monument honors a failed, traitorous rebellion against the United States by those who wanted to maintain and extend slavery. The young flag bearer atop the monument holds a Confederate battle flag and the monument is dedicated “To the Talbot Boys C.S.A.,” the Confederate States of America.
The monument is a reminder of a time when people were enslaved, mistreated, raped, and murdered simply because of the color of their skin, move supporters say. That message of racism and white supremacy should not sit outside the Talbot County Circuit Court, where justice without prejudice is expected.
For those who want to Preserve Talbot History, the monument honors Talbot men who joined the Confederacy to fight against unconstitutional injustices in the county and Maryland at the hands of federal troops that occupied the state during the Civil War.
The monument should remain on the courthouse lawn, where it has stood for more than 100 years, envisioned during the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, remain supporters say.
A third group, the Union Talbot Boys, is raising funds for a monument honoring Talbot’s Union veterans, who vastly outnumbered those who joined the Confederacy. A Union monument had been proposed in 1913, but the effort lost impetus as a result of World War I.
Letters to Editor
Totch Hartge says
I watched the video several times. Not a shred of understanding on the “Preserve” side that it’s the offensive confederate flag. Clearly the still existent KKK symbol.
To white people the confederate flag means old history. To a black person today (as intended in 1916) it means fear, ugly and lookout!
To white people, a noose means nothing. To a black person, lookout!
To white people, a white-hooded southerner is a curiosity. To a black person…?
You still see burning crosses across the country today. What does that mean to you if you are black? Or just white?
So move the monument and it’s inflammatory flag. Even if you can’t acknowledge or feel the insults and pain.
Stephen Schaare says
The date, right now, is 2021. Are you an authority on how white and black people perceive symbols?
I am white. When I see a hooded southerner, I think Democrat (Dixiecrat) from the old South; when I see a noose, I see sheriff Bull Connor, George Wallace, and Senator Robert Byrd.
Can you please supply me with the locations of these cross burnings?
When I see the ongoing, ignored Black on Black genocide of our inner cities, I think “are they obsessed with a statue from 1916”? This bloodletting is real and completely overlooked.
What the hell are our priorities?
Deirdre LaMotte says
As you say, we are in 2021. Why the heck bring up Dixiecrats? Maybe so you don’t have to deal with a Party of racist? Perhaps check out the Charlottesville riots and the skin head people storming our Capital with Confederate flags. This is today’s GOP.
Stephen Schaare says
I mentioned the date, in response to Totch, because he seems to be living in a distant past. A “southerner in a white hood”? A noose? “Cross burnings”? I simply do not happen to see these things in my daily life. Oh, my bad, I did see the current Governor of Virginia(Northam) in his hood in the year book photo.
I was hoping to impress upon “Notch” that the ongoing, today, 2021 urban violence needs much more attention than a statue from 1916. The southern hooded haters were all good democrats. Simply wanted folks to remember their history.
Once again, I thank you for the kind words.
Stephen Schaare says
H I try to address an important issue in the present time and once again you bark “racist”, as always.
In case you may be interested, just another Tuesday in Chicago. Twenty seven shot, eight dead. Do you care? The mayor(lightfoot) is simply not interested. Just another Tuesday.
Paul Callahan says
Totch, You identified the main issue. I would like to ask your opinion. If the flag was removed from the statue would that settle the issue?
Maybe include a plaque that tells Maryland and Talbot history in that conflict to provide the memorial proper context and that the confederate flag was removed out of respect for our black citizens?
Or do you think the “movers” will keep pushing until they wipe away every vestige of our history that they “feel” is inappropriate?
Totch Hartge says
To me, the flag is the obvious trigger. So separating the flag from the soldier crossed my mind too. It would have to be a beautiful piece of bronze-work surgery for a clean result. But that is for experts, if the idea flew at all.
Thank you for your comments, and for your service.
Thank you for your comments.
Totch Hartge says
I personally feel it is the flag. Yes, in my opinion, if removed that would do the job. But it would involve perfect cosmetic surgery to be acceptable. Expert bronze artist needed. But maybe possible.
Back to removal, step 2 would be a location of the cooled-off citizens’ choice That won’t be a quick selection process.
Thanks for your comments and your service.
Donald Martin says
Both sides of this dispute lean heavily on principle. From a practice point of view, here is a hypothetical question for each side of this dispute. If there were a vacant lot along Washington St that was available to where the statute might be moved so that its historical significance were maintained for those who wished to preserve it, would either side object to such a move and why? If no such lot exists, is there any place(s) that might be acceptable to both?
Paul Callahan says
Than you Mr. Griep, after all this time you are the first reporter in Talbot that has actually written the words that acknowledges the motivation behind the Preserve Talbot History Coalition – That our ancestors “joined the confederacy to fight against unconstitutional injustices in the county and Maryland.” Though the “Preserve” website is almost completely about this point and full of historical facts documenting such, no reporter would even acknowledge this very important point.
However with my appreciation I still must point out that you still fell short by stating that they were unconstitutional abuses inflicted by the occupying Federal troops instead of where these abuses actually originated – the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Somehow many believe criticizing Mr. Lincoln is “Un-American – it is just the opposite.
A critical assessment of the Constitutionality of the actions by the executive branch during the US Civil War does not mean that we as Americans should desire a different outcome from that conflict. As Americans it is our right and civic duty to fully evaluate our government’s historical actions against our citizens.
The Civil War policies of the Federal government towards Maryland and her citizens should be included with, and given the same scrutiny as, that of our government’s policies towards our Native Americans, our Japanese Americans during WWII, the government’s policies towards Americans of African descent during the 100 years of Jim Crow laws and the scrutiny of our government’s policies today.
Do we ever want any President to again commit the same actions against a free State and her citizens which the Lincoln administration did to Maryland? Do we accept that any future President may imprison our citizens and elected official without charges or trial? Should we accept that our President and government officials shall have the power to set aside the Constitutional protections of any citizen which that future government “labels” as undesirable?
Or should we hold fast to the terms and values of the US Constitution, a document created and designed to protect our citizens against the abuses of government and is the sole document that protects our citizens from the evils of a totalitarian regime seen so often throughout world history and even today?
There can be no “middle ground” – one cannot freely accept and excuse Constitutional violations of the past without freely accepting the same for ourselves, our children, and future generations to come.
Henry Herr says
I think it is challenging to equal those who want the monument removed to those who want to “Preserve Talbot History.” As Mr. Callahan acknowledges, PTH asserts: “That our ancestors ‘joined the confederacy to fight against unconstitutional injustices in the county and Maryland.’ Though the ‘Preserve’ website is almost completely about this point and full of historical facts documenting such, no reporter would even acknowledge this very important point.”
So I have a problem with that. PTH has based this theory on historical events that happened. That is illogical and a fallacy. PTH does not have any primary sources that directly states that the Confederate soldiers in Talbot were solely focused on fighting “unconstitutional injustices.” So, therefore, this assertion is only a theory, not a fact. If there is no primary source from soldiers in Talbot County that state: “I fought for Confederacy because of the unconstitutional injustices,” than, once again, PTH’s assertions are theories, not facts as they keep trying to present them.
This leads me to my second point. If PTH wants to “preserve history,” why do no historians agree with them? It would make sense that if history is the focus, those experts would agree with the assertions that PTH is making. They do not however. These concerns have yet to be addressed by PTH, with the only response that I have seen, attacking the individual asking these concerns.
For example, the National Trust for Historic Preservation states: “Although Confederate monuments are sometimes designated as historic, and while many were erected more than a century ago, the National Trust supports their removal from our public spaces when they continue to serve the purposes for which many were built—to glorify, promote, and reinforce white supremacy, overtly or implicitly.” The American Historical Association states: “History comprises both facts and interpretations of those facts. To remove a monument, or to change the name of a school or street, is not to erase history, but rather to alter or call attention to a previous interpretation of history. A monument is not history itself; a monument commemorates an aspect of history, representing a moment in the past when a public or private decision defined who would be honored in a community’s public spaces.” They go on to add: “We urge communities faced with decisions about monuments to draw on the expertise of historians both for understanding the facts and chronology underlying such monuments and for deriving interpretive conclusions based on evidence.”
So basically, the experts in history and preservation agree, the removal of Confederate monuments is not erasing history. It seems like PTH wants to claim that they want to preserve history, but in actuality, want to hide behind that statement because the experts do not agree with these claims.
PTH also asserts that it is just Talbot County Boys, fighting against the tyranny of unconstitutional acts. Is that what we need to have as the standard? Slavery was constitutional. Slaves and free Blacks were fighting against the tyranny of slavery, even though it was constitutional. I think everyone can agree that slavery was an atrocity. So how can one compare fighting against unconstitutionality to slavery?
Furthermore, I think there needs to be some clarifications of actual facts. PTH asserts that the statue was created in the spirit of unity after the Gettysburg anniversary and it was only coincidental that this was the height of the Jim Crow era. But what is not stated is that the Gettysburg anniversary was certainly not a spirit of unity. No Blacks were invited to the ceremony. There were Black veterans and family members, but they were not invited. It was a whites only event. During the anniversary, President Wilson spoke about unity and how we need to come together and remember what happened here. While stating this, he segregated the federal government. So let’s not pretend that this event was free from racial discrimination.
These are all things that are just easily researched. One book I found particularly enlightening was “Maryland Voices of the Civil War” Edited by Charles W. Mitchell. Mitchell takes a large combination of primary sources to find the true meanings and thoughts of Marylanders during the Civil War. It is probably the largest grouping of Maryland primary sources of the Civil War. (Something PTH is selectively doing now) In the primary sources you read from Confederate soldiers, papers of the day, Union soldiers and slaves. At the conclusion of the book, Mitchell explains how damaging these Confederate memorials are, and the power of the Lost Cause in Maryland.
These are all things left out in PTH. Let us not pretend they care about history and it’s preservation. If they truly cared about history, they would check with historians of their theories. They would see that while the Civil War was complicated, statues are not representations of that complex history. A context plaque does not do justice to the reason that statue is there. The real preservation of history is reading the primary sources of the time, and not elevate those to a place that they do not belong. True preservation of history is gathering all the facts, not a select few.
Lastly, let us not forget the pain that statue causes our POC Marylanders. Why is one association’s version of history and events worth more than them? Why does the council refuse to take advice from historical experts and instead continues to kick the can down the road? Why are white values more important than accuracy?
Michael Davis says
Thank you, Mr. Herr, and others who consistently point to the false or misleading history promoted by the PTH group. Even if their history were true, and it is not, it is irrelevant. If every one of those Talbot Boys were a constitutional scholar graduating from the World Famous PTH Constitutional University in Easton, and they all wrote dissertations that they were only joining the Southern Cause because of years of study of Pres. Lincoln and they hated slavery which they promised to fight against after the South wins the War of the Constitution…..even if ALL that were true, it does not change the fact the statute is morally offensive. It does not change the hate-laden symbolism of the Confederate Flag.
It will not help to remove the flag. The initials on the statue, “C.S.A” symbolize treason. Also offensive.
I think a member of the PTH group should agree to have the statue put on their property. I would contribute money to pay to have it moved to any backyard of a member of the PTH group.