UPDATE: At the advice of the county health officer, the Talbot County Council has closed its meetings to the public. Members of the public will not be allowed to attend in person. Information on how to view the meeting virtually or listen by phone is at the end of this story.
A proposal to remove the statue of a rebel flagbearer from a monument on the courthouse green will be up for public comment Tuesday night.
The public hearing on Resolution 290 — set for 6:30 p.m. July 28 in the Talbot County Council chambers — largely will be virtual. The council chamber is limited to 10 audience members to ensure social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concerns about the coronavirus — with cases dramatically increasing in Talbot County in the past three weeks — scuttled the original plan to hold the public hearing in the Talbot County Auditorium at Easton High School.
Resolution 290 — introduced by Council President Corey Pack and Councilman Pete Lesher — calls for the removal of the statue of a young man carrying a rebel battle flag atop the monument base listing the names of Talbot County men who went to war against the United States.
The resolution also would prohibit “new statues depicting persons, signs, or symbols associated with military action … on County-owned property” and calls for new monuments to focus on “the names of those American servicemen and women who served in the conflict.”
It also makes it clear that the prohibition “does not apply to the statue of Frederick Douglass, who is remembered for his contributions to civil society. ”Resolution 290
The resolution was proposed by Pack; Lesher joined him in its introduction but said he would seek to amend it to remove the entire Talbot Boys monument.
Pack, who previously has voted against the removal of the monument, changed his mind after the May 25 death of George Floyd and ensuing protests against racism in the U.S. Floyd, a Black man accused of passing a counterfeit $20, died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
In addition to Pack, two other council members, Laura Price and Chuck Callahan, previously have voted against removing the Confederate monument. Lesher and Councilman Frank Divilio are both in their first terms on the county council and have not voted on the issue.
Divilio, during the council’s June 23 meeting, suggested a unity statue that would list the names of Union and rebel soldiers from Talbot County, with a statue depicting soldiers from each side.
His proposal is modeled after the Civil War monument in Chestertown, which lists the names of soldiers from both sides, and the state of Maryland monument at Gettysburg, which shows a wounded Union soldier and a wounded rebel soldier helping each other on the battlefield.
Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room in the south wing of the Talbot County Courthouse. The 10 available seats will be available on a first-come basis and face masks must be worn at all times inside the council chambers unless addressing the council.
To view the meeting virtually:
- Go to www.talbotcountymd.gov, click on the picture of the Talbot County Council on the bottom left hand corner of the page and you will be directed to the video streaming page (which you may access directly at www.talbotcountymd.gov/index.php?page=council-meeting-videos). Closed captioning is available on the livestream video.
- Watch via YouTube at www.youtube.com/midshorecommunitytelevision
- Easton Cable subscribers may view the meeting through TV-Channel 98
- Listen to the meeting by calling 833-491-0327
To provide public comment:
- Submit written public comments to the Talbot County Council via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to County Council, Courthouse, South Wing, 11 N. Washington St., Easton, MD 21601.
- To provide public comments verbally during the County Council meeting, call 833-491-0327