Commission recommends removal of two Confederate monuments

A commission formed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake to review the city's Confederate and antebellum monuments is recommending two be removed and two kept and recontextualized.

The commission passed proposals, both by a vote of four to two, to remove both the Lee-Jackson Monument in Wyman Park and Roger B. Taney Monument in Mount Vernon.

Commissioner Larry S. Gibson, a law professor at the University of Maryland, put forth the plan to donate Lee-Jackson to the National Park Service with the stipulation that the statue be relocated to the site of the scene it depicts in Chancellorsville, Virginia. It's not yet clear what will happen to the Taney monument if it is deaccessioned.

The Confederate Women's Monument and Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument will be kept and recontextualized.

If last month's meeting of the Confederate Monuments Commission illustrated the wide range of public opinion surrounding the fate of Baltimore's Confederate and antebellum Monuments, this morning's meeting illustrated the wide range of opinions among the commissioners themselves.

After opening with the minutes and an overview of the commission's progress thus far, each commissioner put forth their preferred recommendations and mentioned which factors most concerned them. Among the concerns raised was the cost associated with any possible alterations, moves, or removals of the monuments.

Elford Jackson was especially concerned with the cost element and saw recontextualizing the monuments as the more pragmatic approach to dealing with them.

Mary Demory and Elissa Blount-Moorhead had similar concerns and suggestions, both agreeing that comprehensive (re)contextualization of the monuments is necessary regardless of what the ultimate fate of the statues is.

Gibson, Elizabeth Nix, and Donna Cypress all took the more aggressive stance of either moving or deaccessioning select monuments.

Gibson in particular was adamant that as many of the Confederate monuments be removed as possible, arguing that it is ridiculous to have three tributes to the same hostile military force in a city which has only one monument to any other conflict.

Commissioners Nix and Cypress each offered up tentative proposals of their own to move the statues erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy—the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Confederate Women's Monument—to Confederate cemeteries in order to abide by the legal stipulation that they remain "accessible to the public."

Unfortunately for those expecting a neat conclusion to the commission, the allotted time ran out on the meeting and Commission Chair Aaron Bryant called for an additional meeting in six to eight weeks to iron out specifics.

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