WASHINGTON, Sept. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Talbot County Council has adopted a resolution to remove the last Confederate statue remaining on public grounds in Maryland. This is a change of position for the Council and follows a lawsuit filed by Crowell & Moring and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. The resolution, passed on September 14, 2021 with a 3-2 vote, orders the movement of the Talbot Boys statue from the Easton courthouse to a private park in Virginia "as soon as is practicable."
The lawsuit, which was filed in May 2021, challenged the statue's placement as racist and illegal. It brought together the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, the Talbot County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, attorney Kisha Petticolas, and community activist Richard M. Potter, along with the ACLU of Maryland and Crowell & Moring.
"This is just one step on what is still a long road to eradicating systemic racism, but to the plaintiffs and others harmed by the presence of Confederate symbolism on the courthouse lawn, the removal of the statue is not merely symbolic—it will remove a source and cause of real pain," said Daniel W. Wolff, partner at Crowell & Moring and one of the lead attorneys on the lawsuit. "This result demonstrates the continued impact of civil rights advocates using litigation to achieve results when politicians refuse to respect constitutional rights."
In May, plaintiff Kisha Petticolas, a Black lawyer who has worked in the Easton Office of the Maryland Public Defender for the last decade, explained the effects she feels from a Confederate statue situated at the place she works and seeks justice for her clients:
"Every day, I have to walk past that statue to get to work. It's an unavoidable and painfully constant reminder of a time when white people fought for Black people to stay enslaved. It is a violent, hateful legacy that white supremacists fought to preserve. How can we keep this Confederate monument erected without promoting the same legacy of white supremacy? It cannot be done. How can any Black Marylanders expect justice at a courthouse that holds up a racist symbol on a pedestal for all to see?"
The NAACP and a growing number of community activists have been advocating for years for removal of the monument, arguing it promotes a legacy of racism, celebrates traitors to the union, and is a symbol of white supremacy that is intolerable at the entryway to a public courthouse. The Talbot NAACP first asked the County to remove the statue in the summer of 2015, following the murders by a white supremacist of nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. The Council considered the request, but unanimously elected to retain the statue in 2016. Since then, requests for reconsideration have recurred periodically, as racist incidents connected to Confederate imagery continued, and as states and other local governments across the country and Maryland removed their own pro-Confederate monuments, leaving Talbot County alone in Maryland in retaining its monument.
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