The idea for a unity monument to replace or accompany The Talbot Boys memorial on the courthouse lawn, being promoted by Laura Price and others, is wrong–headed and unacceptable on many levels. Most of all, it suggests an equivalency between the cause of the Union and that of the Confederacy in the Civil War—whereas the plain fact is that one side was morally right (for freedom) and the other was morally wrong (for slavery).
To commemorate and honor the Confederate flag and soldiers on public property is an insult and affront to our African American citizens, whose ancestors were stolen, sold, whipped, worked to death for no pay, murdered, raped, and denied basic human rights for hundreds of years right here in Talbot County.
This should be especially apparent in the aftermath of the events of 2020, and the resulting national impulse for greater racial understand and equity. And it must be brought home to all by the disgraceful exhibition at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, with the disgusting and unforgettable picture of a domestic terrorist carrying the Confederate flag through its halls.
When we see Confederate flags on display, whether at the riot in Washington or here on the Eastern Shore, they are rightly and universally understood as symbols of hatred and contempt for the black people of this country. There is simply no other explanation.
State and local governments nationwide–including in my own hometown of Helena, Montana–have removed statues and symbols such as The Talbot Boys during the past year. And the States of South Carolina and Mississippi have taken them from government flagpoles. It’s past time for Talbot County to get with the program and catch up with the rest of America.
Gerry Early is the former director of the Talbot County Arts Council. Prior to that appointment, he was a career officer in the U.S. Army.