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Baltimore to Scrap Its Own Confederate Statues After Charlottesville Violence

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Baltimore Inner Harbor - Sputnik International
Following the weekend’s deadly clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Catherine Pugh has reached out to contractors to discuss removing the city’s Confederate-era monuments.

Charm City currently houses four statues: the Confederate Soldiers and Sailor Monument on Mount Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway, the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place, and the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell.

"It’s my intention to move forward with the removal of the statues," Pugh, frustrated that the process wasn’t already further along, told the Baltimore Sun Monday.

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The removal process was first initiated when former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake commissioned a board of academics and officials to recommend what should be done with the monuments. The board suggested removing two of the four, but for some unknown reason, the process stalled nearly a year before Rawlings-Blake left office, Pugh noted. 

While the statues were not taken down, Rawlings-Blake did add signs in front of the monuments that said the Confederate Monuments were "part of a propaganda campaign of national pro-Confederate organizations to perpetuate the beliefs of white supremacy, falsify history and support segregation and racial intimidation."

Pugh, however, wants all four monuments gone. She noted in a press release that a working group to "lead the process for removing the Confederate Monuments" would be organized. 

Hoping to relocate the statues to Confederate cemeteries in Maryland, such as the Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown and the Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery, Pugh shared with the Sun that once plans were finalized the specific date wouldn’t be announced, in order to avoid a Charlottesville-like scenario.

In the press release, Pugh also notes that she reached out to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to learn about the Big Easy’s process and costs — which totaled $2.1 million for the removal of their four monuments.

Baltimore Councilman Brandon Scott also announced he intends to introduce legislation on the topic at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

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Introduced in the early morning hours of Monday, Scott’s resolution, citing the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, calls for "the immediate destruction of all Confederate Monuments in Baltimore."

"Monuments with ties to the dark side of America’s past have come under increased scrutiny in recent years with cities across the country debating on whether they should be removed," Scott’s resolution stated. "Following the acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacist terrorists groups in Charlottesville Virginia this past weekend cities must act decisively and immediately by removing these monuments. Baltimore has had more than enough time to think on the issue it’s time to act."

With several solidarity protests staged from Seattle to New York after one person died in the Charlottesville demonstration, activists in the Washington, DC, area also voiced their opinion as they marched on a statue of Albert Pike, a Confederate general, in the nation’s capital.

​"We feel that it is an affront to our humanity to have this symbol of racial terror in our city," Sean Blackmon, an organizer with Stop Police Terror Project DC who was at the Washington rally Sunday, told Sputnik News. "These statues were erected to show that white supremacy is the order in this country. They are there as symbols of racial hatred and that’s why we feel they should come down."

Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Jim Gray announced over the weekend that he had initiated the removal of statues John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge, two figures who violently opposed the abolition of slavery.

​According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Gray announced in a statement he would be asking the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council to ask the state military commission for permission to take down the statues.

For Blackmon, if America ever wants to come to terms with the role white supremacy has played in its birth, the nation needs to "acknowledge [it] at every single level of government and social life."

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