A statue that honors Confederate soldiers will remain outside one Maryland county’s courthouse.
It comes after members of the Talbot County council voted 3-2 on Tuesday against a measure that would have led to the “Talbot Boys” statue’s removal. The statue, dedicated in 1916, commemorates the 84 soldiers from the county who fought for the Confederacy.
After the death of George Floyd, the county saw a renewed push to remove the controversial statue. The resolution to have it removed was authored by council president Corey Pack, a Republican, who voted against the statue’s removal in 2015.
Pack told the council ahead of a vote on the new measure on Tuesday that he has changed.
“I am very much aware of what I said in the past, but it is not appropriate to keep that symbol on the courthouse lawn,” Pack said.
During the meeting, those against the resolution claimed voters should be the ones to make the decision, not the council.
“This should be in the hands of the community, and not our hands,” said council member Chuck Callahan, a Republican.
Also among the council members voting “no” was Frank Divilio, also a Republican.
“I’m committed to moving forward with a plan, a committee and a ballot question so that we can put this issue to rest,” Divilio said.
The council’s lone Democrat, Pete Lesher, who supported the resolution, expressed to his colleagues his concerns about a decision to allow the statue to remain.
“Our actions on it tonight, I’m afraid, sadly speak of who we are now as a county and the extent to which we have not yet changed,” Lesher said.
Among those leading the push to remove the statue was Talbot County’s NAACP leader Richard Potter, who said the outcome of the meeting was unfortunate.
“It’s racist ideologies at it’s best,” Potter said.
He claimed the concerns expressed by some council members about a need to allow the community to be more involved in the process were merely stall tactics to prevent a vote from happening.
“The message of what the representation of a courthouse is and that monument are in direct conflict of one another,” Potter said
Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen called on the council to reconsider its decision not to remove the statue in Easton.
“The monument — which was erected over 50 years after the Civil War — serves as a constant and painful reminder to residents of the ugly, hateful legacy of slavery and those who fought with the Confederacy to preserve it,” Van Hollen said.
He added, “As such, it is wholly incompatible with the mission of the Talbot County Circuit Court to provide equal justice under the law.”
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