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Baltimore Quietly Removes Confederate Statues Overnight

A monument dedicated to the Confederate Women of Maryland lies on a flatbed trailer near the intersection of Charles St. and University Parkway after it was taken down.

By Juliet Linderman

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has a few words of advice for leaders in other cities who might want to get rid of Confederate monuments: “Do it quietly and quickly.”

On Tuesday, August 15, Pugh ordered four statues in Baltimore removed under the cover of night. In the morning, city residents awoke to empty marble plinths.

Crews began removing the city’s Confederate monuments late Tuesday and finished at about 5:30 a.m.Wednesday. The city also removed a statue of Marylander Roger B. Taney, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision denying citizenship to African Americans.

Pugh made the decision to remove the monuments that night in order to avoid attention.

“It was important that we move quickly and quietly,” Pugh said, “and that’s what we did.”

Elliott Cummings, a member of the Maryland Sons of Confederate Veterans, denounced Pugh’s “barbarism and Taliban-esque actions” in tearing down the statues. “I’m angry and very sad at the same time.”

Cummings also said he doesn’t think the city followed proper protocols, which would have included getting approval from the Maryland Historical Trust to remove the monuments.

John Coleman, public information officer for the Trust, said in a statement that while “the formal process of removing the monuments was not followed, due to the rapidly evolving circumstances MHT will work with the city on the relocation, restoration or preservation, etc., decided in accordance with the current easements.”

Workers used cranes to lift the towering monument to Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson onto a flatbed truck in the dark.

“I did what was right for my city,” Pugh said. “Any city that has Confederate statues has concern about violence occurring in their city.

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