“We stand together on this battleground. We are not going away!”
That was the message Dr. Kirkland Hall delivered to a crowd of about 100 gathered on the lawn of the Talbot County Courthouse Tuesday evening to protest the Confederate monument.
“Move the statue and vote like your lives depend on it, “ said Hall, a former professor at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a commissioner on the Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Hall was one of four speakers at the rally, the fifth gathering held by The Move the Monument Coalition during the Talbot County Council meeting.
The rally is part of an ongoing commitment to gather the nights the Talbot County Council meets to send the message that their 3-to-2 vote to leave the statue in place does not represent the sentiments of the majority of Talbot County’s citizens who will continue to push for its removal.
All of the speakers spoke of the monument, erected in 1916 during the Jim Crow era, as a symbol calculated to intimidate Blacks and to keep them from enjoying full rights and privileges. Its continued presence is an affront, they said.
Hall spoke of growing up in an era when Blacks on the Eastern Shore had to walk on one side of the street and drink out of “colored-only” water fountains. “I am confused; I am disappointed that we still have to fight this fight,” he said.
Jazzmine Davis, a founder of Collective Majority, a community activist group that focuses on social justice issues, said the statue “sends a clear message to black residents that our feelings don’t matter.”
“We’re angry; we’re sad and we’re tired,” she said.
Rose Potter, who served two terms as commissioner for the town of Trappe and ran for County Council in 2018, spoke of the monument’s presence on the courthouse lawn as “tormenting and distressing.”
“It is not moral or respectable to have this depiction,” she said.
Tranel Stanford, one of three members of A Tribe Called 3, a podcast that focuses on social justice issues, told the crowd that the “statue represents all the negativity we face as Black people.”
“If we enter the courthouse, we have to go by that. It’s a slap in the face,” he said.
Doug Cephas, another member of A Tribe Called 3, added:
“This statue doesn’t belong next to the Frederick Douglass statue. It doesn’t belong in front of the courthouse. It belongs in the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s an absolute abomination that we are still even talking about this statue in 2020, especially considering the year we have had.”
The next rally will be 6 p.m., Nov. 10, to coincide with the next County Council meeting.