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Baltimore Took Down Confederate Monuments. Now It Has To Decide What To Do With Them

Baltimore’s statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson before it was private (left); now, a height is dull solely for a few potted plants.

Mark Goebel/Flickr; Merrit Kennedy/NPR


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Mark Goebel/Flickr; Merrit Kennedy/NPR

If we walked into Baltimore’s Wyman Park Dell dual weeks ago, a statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on horseback would have towered above you.

There’s an marker on a bottom that reads, “They were good generals and Christian soldiers and waged fight like gentlemen.” But now, there’s zero atop a pedestal solely for a few potted plants.

On Aug. 16, underneath a cover of darkness, Baltimore private 4 statues of total with Confederate ties in a five-hour operation systematic by Mayor Catherine Pugh.

The Lee-Jackson statue and 3 others are now in a city lot, lonesome and protected. The plcae is being kept secret. And Baltimore is perplexing to figure out what to do with them. Pugh says she has allocated a operative organisation of city officials to import a options for where a statues should go.

Other cities opposite a U.S. that have taken down argumentative monuments are grappling with a same questions.

“They’re entrance down so fast, we don’t know if we have adequate museums to residence them or adequate cemeteries to hang them in,” Pugh says of those works.

Baltimore private 4 statues with Confederate ties on Aug. 16 underneath a cover of darkness, in a five-hour operation systematic by Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Merrit Kennedy/NPR


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Merrit Kennedy/NPR

Baltimore private 4 statues with Confederate ties on Aug. 16 underneath a cover of darkness, in a five-hour operation systematic by Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Merrit Kennedy/NPR

Baltimore’s mayor says she took movement fast and sensitively since she was disturbed about assault in a issue of Charlottesville, Va., where skeleton to mislay a statue of Lee became a rallying indicate for white nationalists.

Pugh says that since of reserve concerns, usually she and a executive knew a removals were function until right before a operation started.

The statues had already been a matter of city discuss for years. In 2015, a row of scholars listened comments from some-more than 200 people about either a statues should stay or go and what should be finished with them if they were removed.

“There were a far-reaching accumulation of opinions about a statues and about how we should remember Baltimore’s difficult conditions during a Civil War and how we should remember a Jim Crow epoch here,” says University of Baltimore story highbrow Elizabeth Nix, who was partial of that commission. “Really, those statues are products of a Jim Crow epoch and not a Civil War.”

During a war, Maryland was a slaveholding state that never seceded from a Union. It had 3 times some-more soldiers who fought for a Union than for a Confederacy. And after a war, Nix says, many former Confederates changed to Baltimore.

Who Are The Confederate Men Memorialized With Statues?

“Those monuments that went adult were really a summary to a abounding black veteran category that white leverage still reigned in a city,” Nix said. In a deeply segregated city, these issues still resonate.

One of those 4 statues, for example, depicts Roger Brooke Taney, a arch probity of a United States who oversaw a barbarous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. While Taney wasn’t a Confederate figure, a statue is seen as carrying ties to a Confederate cause. His infancy opinion in 1857 settled that African-Americans could not be deliberate adults — and by prolongation a preference treated black people as property, not people.

“There is a disproportion between honoring people from story and carrying a memory of people from history,” Nix added. “So we consider those statues can exist in a correct context, nonetheless where they were was not a correct context.”

She endorsed fixation a Lee-Jackson relic in context — during a Chancellorsville Civil War terrain in Virginia. The relic depicts a generals before to that battle, where Jackson was fatally wounded.

Red paint was thrown on a pedestal in Baltimore where a Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument once stood before city workers private a statue on Aug. 16.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images


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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Pugh says Baltimore officials are deliberation promulgation a 4 monuments to museums or Civil War cemeteries.

City Councilman Brandon Scott doesn’t wish Confederate statues put on any open land: “Because you’re observant we don’t wish it here since it’s unpleasant to a black people here, a women here, etc., nonetheless we send it there and those people have to see it any and each day.”

He has a some-more radical idea. “Personally we consider that they should be melted down and repurposed for statues that can uncover loyal Baltimoreans and loyal American, good American history,” Scott says.

The assemblyman suggests that a materials could be used to etch people such as abolitionist personality Frederick Douglass or Thurgood Marshall, a initial black Supreme Court justice.

That’s doubtful to happen, though, since a mayor says she doesn’t wish to destroy a statues. “I consider that we should be pulling love, respect, how we work together and pierce a nation forward. That does not come in a context of where I’d like to see us go,” Pugh says.

What Our Monuments (Don't) Teach Us About Remembering The Past

Whatever a city decides to do with a monuments, there’s also a doubt of what to do with a dull pedestals where they once stood.

Pugh likes a thought of regulating these open spaces to respect people who have done certain contributions to Baltimore. She also doesn’t wish people to forget what stood there before.

“Because we consider it is critical that people know what did mount there and why. And a reasons for that they came down,” Pugh says. She says proposals are entrance in from artists, and reads an email aloud off her phone from an African-American artist who wants to paint a pedestals in a approach that would teach people about a site’s history.

“I consider that’s an overwhelming proposal,” Pugh says, “But these kinds of decisions should not be done alone.” She says there is no timeline nonetheless for last what will occur to a statues or a sites.

Dereck Mangus works during a Baltimore Museum of Art, down a travel from a Lee Jackson site. He cooking his lunch here each day and says he has never seen so many visitors looking during a dull space.

“It’s only arrange of humorous in a way, people wanting to see that that is no longer there,” Mangus says.

Charles Hopwood, a late city employee, is one of those visitors. “Keeping it dull creates a matter on a own,” he says as he looks adult during a pedestal. “And have a small pointer in front of it with a design of what was here and what isn’t.

“That’s creation a chronological matter on a own.”