Way to go, Baltimore


Quietly, in the dead of night, the city of Baltimore took down their confederate monuments. A statue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson was removed, as well as…

Other statues being removed included the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway and the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place.

Wait — they had a monument to Roger Taney? This Roger Taney?

[African Americans] had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold, and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever a profit could be made by it.

What took so long, and why was such a slap in the face to American citizens put up in the first place?

Comments

  1. Owlmirror says

    The first link doesn’t work, because the HTML for the link has “hrer” rather than “href”.

    Fixy:
    The city of Baltimore took down their confederate monuments.

    why was such a slap in the face to American citizens put up in the first place?

    All of the statues and monuments put up by the heirs of the Slaver’s Rebellion were meant as slaps in the face to a minority of American citizens.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    If you follow the thinking of Ayn Rand worshipperss, and in addition assume human beings can be reduced to property, then Roger Taney is a hero for protecting the right to own property, including property that will run away if it is not put in chains…

  3. ospalh says

    I had to look up what side they were on, but, yeah. ???
    It’s not like Nazi statues in Germany (there aren’t any), but in England.

  4. blf says

    doublereed@4, Some of the statues were gifts (I currently understand (corrections welcome)). In any case, Maryland, whilst Union, was a slave-holding state, where c.22,000 Marylanders went to fight for slavery (c.65,000 fought for the Union).

    Maryland didn’t free the slaves until late-1864, a year after the Emancipation Proclamation (which only applied to the confederate states); the 13th Amendment was a year later.

  5. cartomancer says

    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  6. doubtthat says

    I offer this as a resource for anyone finding themselves in debates about these hideous monuments in the coming weeks.

    The following is an excerpt of a speech at the dedication ceremony for “Silent Sam,” a monument on the UNC campus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Sam

    The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life the of the Anglo Saxon race in the South — When “the bottom rail was on top” all over the Southern states, and to-day, as a consequence, the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States — Praise God.
    I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomatox (sic), I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of the quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.

    https://twitter.com/KevinMKruse/status/897287970566410242

    These monuments all sprung up after Reconstruction ended, when Federal troops were removed, and Plessy v. Ferguson allowed legal segregation and disenfranchisement. They are monuments to 100 years and more of torture, rape, terrorism, and violence against black people.

    The people dedicating the monuments were proud to share that fact with the world.

  7. doubtthat says

    @6 blf

    Maryland is also where John Wilkes Booth fled after the assassination and worked his way through a reverse underground railroad of Confederate sympathizers and spies.

  8. doublereed says

    Slave state or no, Maryland never seceded. Seems pretty strange.

    Guess it doesn’t matter any more though.

  9. doubtthat says

    It matters as a response to assessments of Lincoln’s position on slavery. If you look at his public rhetoric, he was very measured and careful about how he dealt with emancipation. Maryland is a huge reason why.

    If Lincoln had gone all in bashing slavery, slave owners, southern states…etc., it’s highly likely that the border states – Delaware, Maryland, Missouri and Kentucky, specifically, slave states that did not secede – would have gone with the Confederacy. If Maryland and Delaware went, notice where that places Washington DC.

    It was a delicate balance. It’s a large reason why “Preserving the Union” was the official reason given, and it’s why the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free slaves in the four previously mentioned states.

    Lincoln was always anti-slavery. He was the first president elected from a party founded to oppose slavery, and 5 years after taking office, slavery was destroyed. The political games he had to play to get to that point can sometimes look like appeasement, but it was no certain thing that the Confederacy wouldn’t succeed.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    If there is some stockpile of old communist statues (Lenin, Stalin, Mao etc) and the odd preserved fascist and Nazi statue, it would be appropriate to store those confederate statues together with them, to illustrate the garbage pile of history.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    The confederate nostalgia crowd makes me think of that “X-file” episode with the Peacock family. Ugly.

  12. John Harshman says

    A couple years ago I visited the Capitol building’s hall of statues, and was moderately surprised, though I probably shouldn’t have been to find both Jefferson Davis and Alexander H. Stevens memorialized there. They’re still both there, along with eight Confederate generals.

  13. John Harshman says

    There are two Union generals, neither of them very distinguished. A modest proposal the Virginia state legislature: replace R. E. Lee with fellow Virginian George H. Thomas, who was equally skilled, but on the right side.

  14. anxionnat says

    The whole point of these statues, schools named after, etc of these *traitors* was to terrorize the black community. They were meant to say: You are not safe. If we get power again, it’s back to slavery for you. The statues etc were erected, parks and schools, and so on, said: You are not equal. You will never be equal, if we have anything to say about it. The Nazi marches, KKK cross burning, lynchings served the same purpose. That is why we who can must oppose the right. There is a difference between free speech and terrorism. Terrorizing vulnerable communities should *never* fall under the rubric of “free speech.” That is why, despite numerous solicitations over the years, I refuse to donate to the ACLU. They do not understand the difference between free speech and terrorism. That’s why all the “communists” were kicked out of the ACLU in the 50’s: because the communists understood the difference and wanted to stand with terrorized communities. The ACLU never learned. Let’s hope we do.

  15. doubtthat says

    @22 rojmiller

    The modern equivalent – a bit less sinister – would be the organizations devoted to naming things after Ronald Reagan.

    The Lost Causers, like the United Daughters of the Confederacy, started raising money to erect these monuments after the end of Reconstruction. They opted for the Gone With the Wind version of Southern Nobility and relied on sentimentality for the rank and file soldier to build stuff all over the damn place. They just wanted these things up. Where and why makes little sense.

    The Montreal one at least has some connection – that’s where Jefferson Davis sent his family to live during the war.

  16. HidariMak says

    The fact that your national leader, argued publicly that the removal of statues of people who violently sought to overthrow their national government, would lead to the removal of statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, is a minor (though entirely expected) detail that I’m surprised hasn’t been brought up here yet. For the US president to be so thoroughly ignorant of the fact that his country went to war against the Nazis, that the Nazi flag is a globally rejected ideology which the US beat, and that such vile values should not be viewed as “just another valid opinion which some great Americans have and should consider”, is appalling.

  17. imback says

    I grew up in Maryland and later lived for a while in Baltimore right across the street from one of those monuments taken down last night. As others have mentioned, Maryland was pulled both ways by the Civil War. Its state song to this day calls Lincoln a despot in one verse, a tyrant in another, and a Vandal in a third. When I grew up, our town was lily white by covenant until the sixties. In 1966, the Democratic nominee for governor was openly racist, reacting to the civil rights laws by declaring your home is your castle, and voters actually reacted by electing a relatively unknown Republican, Spiro Agnew. Ironically, I consider that election of Mr. “Nattering Nabobs” the beginning of Maryland turning more progressive.

    I now live in Alexandria, Virginia, which has a confederate monument in the middle of a busy intersection in Old Town. The city council has already voted to take it down, but by law the state has to approve (which I assume is also true in Charlottesville). Alas, I don’t think we’re done with the chaos in Virginia.

  18. microraptor says

    doubtthat @13:

    It was a delicate balance. It’s a large reason why “Preserving the Union” was the official reason given, and it’s why the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free slaves in the four previously mentioned states.

    Also, Lincoln didn’t have the authority to end slavery in the US: that required an act of Congress.

  19. busterggi says

    Can’t we keep the statues and get rid of the neo-Confederates instead?

    There are more of them and they are dangerous.

  20. Walter Solomon says

    Why does Baltimore even have Confederate monuments? Maryland was Union.

    As some have already mentioned here, Maryland was a slave state. What hasn’t been mentioned, though, and has largely been forgotten in the century and half since the Civil War ended is that Baltimore, in particular, was virulently pro-Confederate during the antebellum period.
    In fact, the first bloodshed to occur in the Civil War happened in Baltimore.

  21. Walter Solomon says

    To be clear, the attack on Fort Sumter
    occurred before the Battle of Baltimore but there were no casualties.

  22. doubtthat says

    @29 busterggi

    Part of the reason there are so many Neo-Confederates is that we never got rid of the statues – and all that implies.

  23. pacal says

    No. 23 anxionnat

    “That’s why all the “communists” were kicked out of the ACLU in the 50’s: because the communists understood the difference and wanted to stand with terrorized communities.”

    Nope. First of all American Communists at this time were largely worshippers of the most holy and divine Stalin. They routinely excused and denied Stalinist terrorism. They promoted the self evident lie that the Soviet Union was a free, liberated society. They deliberately turned their backs on the terrorized peoples and individuals under Stalinist tyranny and imperialism. Just look at throughly suck-up material American Communists produced regarding the Slansky trials in Eastern Europe in the early 50s. I could mention also the parties grotesque justifications for the purge trials of the 1930s. In those cases the American Communist party was firmly on the side of power against powers victims. And of course the American Communist party was a willing tool of Soviet foreign policy largely obedient to the dictates of the power holders in the Kremlin. The American party would bend with every breeze from Moscow.

    Further it is now well established by various sources that the party was involved in espionage on behalf of Moscow. All part of it’s subordination to the dictates of Soviet realpolitik.

    As for the contention that the ACLU kicked out Communists because Communists wanted to stand with terrorized communities. That is largely nonsense. The ACLU kicked out the Communists because they like so many feared that American Communist party wanted to bring the horrors of the Soviet system to the USA. (Since American Communists believed the Soviet system was free, democratic etc.; sadly the accusation was true.) Did America react too strongly to American Communists after World War II. I would say yes. American Communists were never much of a threat and the hysteria over them way overblown. Instead American Communists were a political cult of true believers living in a cocooned world removed from reality much of the time. (Thus they were able to ignore the overwhelming evidence of Soviet tyranny, atrocities until of course Soviet authorities gave them permission to “know”.)

    I regard Stalinists, (Which is what American Communists were from the early 30s to the late 50s at least.), has little better than Nazis, eager to impose what most people would regard has a brutal tyranny on the USA, and of course has also willing tools of a foreign power.

  24. says

    As for the contention that the ACLU kicked out Communists because Communists wanted to stand with terrorized communities. That is largely nonsense. The ACLU kicked out the Communists because they like so many feared that American Communist party wanted to bring the horrors of the Soviet system to the USA.

    I think you both make some valid points and I don’t want to get into the middle of this argument, but during WWII and the Cold War the national ACLU tended to abandon and even thwart the efforts of local branches (particularly the California affiliate, which had a number of Communists) to take up the cause of the oppressed. Their forms of action became even more institutionalized and legalistic than they had originally been. They continue to be somewhat sketchy on some matters (contrast with the National Lawyers Guild). Interestingly enough, they appear to be moving back in the direction of more grassroots and direct action, which I think is the right direction.

  25. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Lincoln was always anti-slavery. He was the first president elected from a party founded to oppose slavery, and 5 years after taking office, slavery was destroyed. The political games he had to play to get to that point can sometimes look like appeasement, but it was no certain thing that the Confederacy wouldn’t succeed.

    Hey, Let-It-Bern-ers, are you listeni…

    I thought not.

  26. blf says

    The SPLC points out about two memorials supporting slavery are erected / re-dedicated every year, Changing history? No — 32 Confederate monuments dedicated in past 17 years:

    […]
    You are changing history, Donald Trump said on Tuesday of efforts to remove Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, and elsewhere across the United States. […]

    History about as old as the George W Bush presidency, it turns out in a surprising number of cases — and culture stretching back to the heyday of Britney Spears.

    Thirty-two Confederate memorials have been dedicated in the past 17 years, according to a survey by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). That’s at least 135 years after the demise of the secessionist movement the monuments ostensibly celebrate.

    The symbols include public schools, plaques and monuments, such as a stone in St Cloud, Florida, engraved in honor of Confederate soldiers and of Florida’s cattlemen and farmers who risked their lives and fortunes to supply our troops fighting in defense of their families, state and nation.

    Iowa, a Union state, has three Confederate monuments, all dedicated after 2000. […]

    […]

    In total, there are about 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces, according to the SPLC, which attempted to catalogue them all in 2016.

    The symbols vary: 718 are monuments, while 109 are public schools named for Confederate leaders. A quarter of those schools have student populations that are majority black. Ten of the schools have student bodies that are 90% African American.

    Not all of the post-2000 monuments are new. Some were dedicated again, including a statue for the Confederate navy officer Raphael Semmes in Mobile, Alabama. It was rededicated in 2000 — 100 years after it was first dedicated — with a memorial plaque and ceremony featuring Confederate flags; red, white and blue balloons; and a cannon salute.

    […]

    While some of the newer monuments are simple stones or plaques commemorating Confederate soldiers, others are large sculptures celebrating major Confederate leaders.

    In 2009, Waverly, Missouri, dedicated a new bronze statue to Gen Joseph O Shelby, who was born to one of the wealthiest families in Kentucky and owned a 700-acre plantation worked by slaves. At the end of the war, he refused to surrender and traveled instead to Mexico, leading 1,000 men to a colony for ex-Confederates.

    […]

  27. johnmarley says

    @doublereed (#4)

    Why does Baltimore even have Confederate monuments? Maryland was Union.

    According to a guy from Baltimore I used to know, President Lincoln put Baltimore under martial law to prevent Maryland from seceding. That guy was still pretty bitter about it.

  28. pacal says

    No 38 Johnmarley
    Your friend from Baltimore obviously forgot, or didn’t know, that Baltimore was put under martial law because of riots in Baltimore by pro-Confederates that broke out when newly raised Union troops were marching through Baltimore to reinforce Washington DC were being harassed by pro-Confederates and fighting broke out. In the initial riot 4 soldiers and 8 members of the crowd were killed. The result was that for a time Union troops couldn’t go through Baltimore to Washington DC effectively isolating Washington DC. As a result Baltimore was placed under martial law so that troops could in fact march through to Washington DC.

    Given the majority support for Unionism in Maryland there was little actual risk of Maryland succeeding, although pro-Confederates were not a negligible force in the state.

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