The state’s chief legal officer has joined the growing chorus calling for the Talbot County Council to move the Confederate monument from its prominent position on the courthouse lawn.
In a Wednesday statement, Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said:
“Situated prominently on the front lawn of the Talbot County Courthouse in Easton, Maryland, a 6-foot monument greets jurors, litigants, witnesses, courthouse employees and other members of the public. It is inscribed, ‘To the Talbot Boys.’ The statue depicts a soldier with a Confederate flag draped over his shoulder and pays tribute to 96 local men who fought for the Confederacy and whose names are inscribed in the statue’s base. Many of the men were slave owners or belonged to slave-owning families.
“Most monuments honoring those who fought on behalf of the Confederacy were not erected in the years following the end of the Civil War or in cemeteries where fallen soldiers had been traditionally honored. Rather, support for these statues spiked around 50 years later, during Jim Crow segregation, where their placement in city centers and around government buildings could reinforce the country’s racial hierarchy and its rejection of the gains made during Reconstruction. In the 1950s and 60s, as support for civil rights began to swell, the erection of Confederate monuments surged once again.
“Courthouses are places where our State and federal constitutions guarantee equal justice under the law. Like similar monuments erected during the Jim Crow era and beyond, the ‘Talbot Boys’ belies this promise. It serves as a painful reminder not just of the deadly acts many committed to support slavery and the degradation of Blacks. Worse, it suggests that these ideals are still endorsed within our most critical institutions. It is not simply a vestige of slavery and white supremacy from long ago, but a sign of enduring resistance to racial equality.
“For years, the Talbot County NAACP and other community members have lobbied for the ‘Talbot Boys’ statue to be taken down and recently joined with the Office of the Public Defender to sue the County for its removal. But residents of Talbot County should not have to await the end of protracted litigation to rid public property of this documented symbol of hatred, intimidation, and inequality. It’s time for the ‘Talbot Boys’ to go.”
Letters to Editor
Jim Richardson says
And that is exactly what we had last night at the August 10th Talbot County Council meeting – a ‘chorus’ made up of members from the MTM Coalition serenading the council members with their rally song,”We Are Not Going Away”. In addition, and as a way to mark the one year anniversary of the council’s shameful vote, there were fourteen speakers, all supporting the removal of the Confederate monument located on the courthouse lawn, that took an hour of the public comment portion of the meeting. (There were no presenters from Preserve Talbot’s History, a group that wishes to save the statue.)
The MTM Coalition, along with hundreds of Talbot County citizens, welcomes Md. Attorney General Brian Frosh’s support today and looks forward to the time when the racist monument no longer occupies a place of honor on our courthouse grounds.
Jim Wilson says
Sorry. This plea and 10 cents will not get you a cup of coffee. The Talbot council is deaf and dumb and blind to any entreaties. Voting them out is probably the only chance of getting that statue removed … But only after they have spent lots of taxpayers dollars on lawyers to keep it.
By the way, how much are they spending?
Michael Davis says
Sad, but true. It appears they only care about appealing to Trump’s gang and will listen to no one else. I hope to volunteer to get them out of office at the next election.
Gerry Early says
Well said by our excellent Attorney General! The statue is a continuing embarrassment and disgrace to Talbot County.
Michael Spurry says
it’s the people that still think slavery is a thing and that has done and past this country. we should give it more towards the native americans because we took there land away from them and i know it’s not the same thing. but i won’t hold my grudge on a statue bother me because that history is already done and there’s nothing u can do to change that. taking that statue away is not going to change a thing just create more problems.
Carol Voyles says
Why is simple truth so elusive? We can understand how and why this statue got here.
Why can’t we understand that its message is celebratory of a treason0us effort to support slavery, and that it’s time to go?
Jacques T. Baker, Jr. says
It might be of some interest to note that a monument for those Talbot men who served in the Union Army had also been considered: From: Talbot County – A History, by Dickson J.Preston and Norman Harrington, pages 221-222 – “Visitors to Easton who see another monument, the statue of a rebel soldier on the Court House grounds with the inscription ‘To the Talbot Boys 1861-1865 C. S. A.’ are likely to get the impression that most area men served the Confederate cause. This is far from true. the monument’s sides carry the names of 85 men, with an additional 11 listed underneath as “citizens after the war,” whereas a special census enumeration of Union veterans or their surviving wives made in 1890 listed 334 from Talbot County. The monument was erected in 1915-16 at a time when passions were still strong and the county was dominated by persons of Southern sentiment. A proposal to dedicate the monument to both sides was turned down.”
Paul Callahan says
Dickson Preston was incorrect – Research has revealed that the county commissioners approved a Union memorial at the same time as the Confederate memorial. This is just one of several errors and biases Dickson inserted into that chapter. In Dickson’s defense he did not have the digital databases that we have today and much of his research was done manually and mostly limited to old newspaper accounts.
The approval of the Union memorial by the county commissioners has been published numerous times over the past couple of years both within Spy article and in the Star Democrat.
LM Caldwell says
Yes, it is past time. Thank you Attorney General Frosh.
Judy Wixted says
Bravo Mr. Frosh! How much will the intransigence of Mr. Callahan, Mr. DiVilio, and Ms. Price cost this County? A monument to the Confederacy never belonged in front of our courthouse, let alone continuing to let it stand in the 21st century. Enough is enough.
Paul Callahan says
Judy, Democracy is never free – but it is worth every penny!