Long before the murder of George Floyd last month, the Talbot County Council has been wrestling with the future of the Talbot Boys monument on its courthouse green. Five years ago, in the wake of the Charleston Church Massacre in 2015, the local chapter of the NAACP petitioned Talbot County to remove the confederate statue. And after a considerable public debate, the Council unanimously voted to keep the Talbot Boys with the then Council president, Corey Pack, speaking on its behalf to defend their decision in November of 2015.
Five years later, Corey Pack is still Talbot Council president, but his conviction that the Talbot Boys memorial not be removed has changed dramatically. After much soul-searching after the tragedy in Minneapolis and the growing support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Pack and his current council colleagues will be moving forward with a resolution on June 23, that would remove the sculpture of the confederate soldier from its base. That proposal will open up a process that will once again ask Talbot County citizens for public comment, and Mr. Pack is the first to admit that there is much to say about this compromise solution where the names of those who served in the Confederacy remain in place.
In his Spy interview on Sunday, President Pack outlines the rationale for this proposal, including the belief, based on his own research, that the United States Congress had approved a bill that designated all who served in the Confederacy as United States veterans. That is one of several considerations Pack notes in detailing a deliberate process to reach his conclusion that the Talbot Boys base should remain. Pack also discusses what he is recommending as action steps for Talbot County to be on the forefront of ending racial inequality.
(Editor’s fact check: The U.S. Congress did not designate those who fought for the Confederacy as U.S. veterans. This claim, which began circulating in 2015 after the Charleston Church Massacre, is based on a 1958 law that gave the widows of Confederate veterans a pension benefit. At that time, there were an estimated 1,500 Confederate widows alive; the last known surviving Confederate veteran had died seven years earlier, in 1951.)
This video is approximately twelve minutes in length.
Letters to Editor
Richard Marks says
I am impressed by your interview and the many initiatives you propose. All favorable, in my humble opinion. As well, I enjoyed hearing your personal journey in coming to terms with the Talbot Boys statue. I do, however, respectfully ask you to reconsider the proposal to only remove the top half of this monument. You referred to a compromise which, by definition, is for each side to make concessions. The Civil War did not end that way and symbols of the confederacy have remained to the great misfortune of those who bared the brunt and scars of enslavement. We need truth and reconciliation. We need proper monuments. Ones that mark the tragedy of families torn apart in auctions on grounds that are supposed to carry justice blindly and fairly. We need to come to terms with our past and our present. Removal of only the top half of the monument is not a solution. If expressed medically the part (limb) removed would be considered a phantom limb since the amputee would continue to feel its presence. Is there a better analogy? All would forever see the full statue and what it represented. If the resolution remains as presented now, I would encourage county council members to vote no and to have a new resolution presented that calls for removal of the entire structure. If the intent is to truly allow monuments that name local persons who died in the Civil War, then build another monument with the names of all the persons who perished from both sides. Lastly, thanks for your service and for your use of the word hope. I remain hopeful our council will reach the right decision.
Keith Alan Watts, Esq. says
Dear President Pack and Honorable Council Persons,
I could not agree more with Mr. Marks. All of the monument must be relocated. Moving a portion sounds oddly reminiscent of a “Three Fifths Compromise.”
And so the record is clear, the Editor is spot on. Congress did not designate those who fought for the Confederacy as U.S. veterans.
With that in mind, and in case you’ve never seen this . . . .
Bishop Joel Marcus Johnson shares a photograph of The Talbot Slave Market.
The Talbot Slave Market . . . .
The Talbot County Courthouse — let that sink in — our Courthouse — is right there . . .
Some — if not all of the people in this photograph — were separated, nevermore to see the ones they loved . . . . Ever.
Honorable Council Person Price, if someone kidnapped your child and sold them, where would you want us to put the statue?
Honorable Council Person Callahan, if someone kidnapped your mother and sold them, where would you want us to put the statue?
Honorable Council Person Divilio, if someone kidnapped your father and sold them, where would you want us to put the statue?
Honorable Council President Pack, if someone kidnapped your family and sold them, where would you want us to put the statue?
Honorable Council Person Lesher, thank you for your leadership, compassion and humility — and your call for “The Talbot Boys” to be relocated.
I have hope that — each of you — and all of you together — will do the right thing on June 23rd and relocate this monument – to the Historical Society of Easton.
All. Of. It.
With all due respect,