Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

There stands Brody like a stone wall…

11_18_statues.jpgAt least one Southerner will be pleased at last week’s announcement of the selection of Ronald Daniels as the new president of Johns Hopkins University.

Posting on the Old Virginia Blog on Nov. 14, writer and Civil War preservationist Richard G. Williams Jr. called “John [sic] Hopkins” University “Rude, Unprincipled & Unpatriotic” for refusing this year to rent out a room in Hopkins’ Shriver Hall to host an annual General Lee and General Jackson birthday party.

Apparently, every year, a veritable — ahem — confederacy of Maryland groups, including the Sons of Confederate Veterans, get together in January at the statue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in Baltimore’s Wyman Park to celebrate the generals’ birthdays, then retire to Johns Hopkins’ Clipper Room for refreshments.

Not so this year. Apparently, outgoing JHU president William Brody has denied the group’s petition to rent the room because they are “a Confederate organization:”

In the post, Williams said he received a notice from the Baltimore chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that said, in part: 

“Make no mistake about it, we were not denied because the facility was unavailable, or for any other legitimate reason, we were denied because of who we are. In addition, the Hopkins representative stated that this ruling came directly from the President of the Johns Hopkins University, Mr. William Brody.”

We’re not sure, exactly, if the incoming president will have any stronger sympathies for Confederate memorialists, but this little kerfuffle points to a larger question: Why, in Baltimore, is there still a statue commemorating generals Lee and Jackson? Given that what they stood for was, among other things, a divided America with a South that depended on slave labor, how must Baltimore’s 400,000 African-Americans feel about having such a statue in front of a public park — especially so close to one of the state’s most enlightened learning institutions?

ROBBIE WHELAN, Business Writer

37 comments

  1. Mr. Whelan may know business but he doesn’t know history – or an America where fairness and diversity is respected. The Confederacy may have supported the institution of slavery, but so did America as a whole in the 1860’s. Lee and Jackson as men – and that is what the ceremony is all about – were American heroes during the Mexican war 1846-1848, were loyal to their state during the Civil War (and at that time in history a man’s state was his COUNTRY), and were great generals. Following the war, Lee did as much as any man to bind the country’s wounds. Both men opposed slavery; Jackson started a Sunday School for black children before the war and taught the children to read the Bible. The US Congress in 1958 passed a law to allow Confederate soldiers to be honored as any other American soldier should. So Confederate is American, and to deny them is a discriminatory act.

  2. Before you write such silliness , you might remember that 25,000 Marylanders served in the armed forces of the Confederate States of America. They included a number of General Officers and two Admirals.

  3. Christopher J M Cummins, MD, Captain, USAR

    I’m a soldier serving this country, these united States, on my way to Afghanistan. When I swore, as an officer, to uphold the Constitution, it was not just so some people would be free but for all people in this very diverse country to be able to express themselves and to be respected. I see that some folks in Maryland do not know their Confederate history. All peoples of the world could learn a great deal about the honourable Generals Jackson and Lee. May God forgive your ignorant and prejudiced remarks. Also, Confederate Veterans have the same legal status as all veterans of the United States. It is law. Deo Vindice

  4. where is this enlightened institution located. there stood brody
    like an outhouse. he’s as full as a privy.

  5. Well, let’s look at a list:

    1.) Baltimore is situated below the Mason / Dixon line.
    2.) The battery on Federal Hill faces the city not defends it.
    3.) The first blood spilled in The War Between The States was on President Street.
    4.) Maryland’s State Song urges Maryland to join The Confederacy.
    5.) Maryland was kept in The Union by force.
    6.) Many of the war’s final battles took place in Maryland.
    7.) Baltimore was one of the only Southern towns not to be destroyed precisely because it was occupied by Federal forces.
    8.) Baltimore has long and deep southern roots.

    THAT is why Baltimore still has such a beautiful statue.

  6. Are you really able to write this story and end it with “one of the state’s most enlightened learning institutions” with a straight face? The fact remains that the group has rented the room for years, paid their bill on time, and had not one…let me repeat that, NOT ONE…incident. And they are denied the right to rent a facility because they are “a Confederate organization”? Let’s see them (or any other facility) try that with that other much more radical acronymed association. If you did any research at all, you’d learn that the “Baltimore chapter of the SCV” spends almost all of its resources on preserving historical sites and battlefields and cleaning up dilapidated sections of cemeteries. But. I guess in this day and age it is easier to malign something you don’t know anything about.

    And don’t even get me started on your ill-informed and uneducated views and opinions on the War Between the States and Generals Lee and Jackson.

  7. Robbie,

    Your ignorance is deafening.

  8. I find it interesting that those who claim to love freedom the most are sometimes the quickest to thoughtlessly espouse the removal, banning or destruction of history, heritage, artifacts or symbols of others with whom they disagree.

    I wonder how Mr. Whelan would react if something he cared deeply about was broadly disparaged with constant calls for its removal from view. I care about history in general. I believe strongly that we should not ignore any aspect of our history. Over the course of our nations’ history, we have chosen to ignore select parts of our history that happened to make some uncomfortable at the time.

    This is great mistake. To avoid, cover up or discourage the study of history from all perspectives defeats any hope of benefiting from the lessons history offers us. I put people calling for the removal, destruction or banning of such things in a class with the book burners of Nazi Germany.

  9. Robbie Whelan’s, There Stands Brody Like A Stonewall, is typical of journalists who are long on opinion and short on history and facts. While it is true that Baltimore has large population of African-Americans, had it not been for the despotic actions of President Lincoln, in 1861, as related to the Maryland Legislature, Maryland would have been a Confederate State. In fact, Maryland’s sympathies at the time were squarely with the Confederacy. Lincoln was resoundingly defeated by John Breckenridge in the Presidential election of 1860, and it was only through nefarious means did he carry the State in 1864. Politics aside, Johns Hopkins University had no difficulty at its inception in 1876 welcoming the prominent professor, Basil Gildersleeve, a Southern soldier and scholar, as an inaugural faculty member. Professor Gildersleeve taught for many years at Hopkins, and promulgated the theory of the Southern “Lost Cause”.

    I would be curious as to how many percieved “liberal” groups have been treated by Hopkins in a similar fashion as the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) My guess would be very few.

  10. There’s a monument to Sidney Lanier , poet of the Confederacy and Confederate prisoner at Pont Lookout , on the Hopkins campus..

    I wonder if in accordance with Mr. Whelan’s suggestion and Hopkins’anti Confederate policy, President Brody will get out the Hopkins forklift brigade and remove it. Perhaps he could get some help from the English Department.

  11. Rich,

    Where do you get your information about this organization having paid its bill on time, having not a single incident, etc.? That information does not appear in the blog.

    I have to say I find it amusing that the posts following this article are all by men. I say that because for many years men have used the private status of an organization to justify its policy of excluding certain individuals, whether they be of a certain color or a certain gender. Perhaps a few of you of feeling the sting of that for the first time. If so, I intend to sit back and enjoy.

  12. Isolde,

    To answer your question directed to Rich as to “Where do you get your information about this organization having paid its bill on time, having not a single incident, etc.?”, perhaps he has direct knowledge by way of contact with this group.

    I find your statement that “men have used the private status of an organization to justify its policy of excluding certain individuals, whether they are of a certain color or a certain gender.” Certainly organizations based on family history and/or gender will exclude certain individuals. In the instance of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, in order to belong, you must be a male, at least 14 years of age and have documented proof of your decadency from a Confederate Veteran. While there are no women members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, there are certainly Black and Hispanic members. The SCV does not exclude any male descendant beyond the age minimum. I would think the name “Sons of Confederate Veterans” would say it all. To anticipate your next question, I know all this because I belong to the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

    Such organizations are not the exclusive domain of white, Anglo-Saxon protestant males. Examples such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Daughters of the American Revolution, or the Black Students Union on almost any American campus would tend to be exclusive based on things like gender or race.

    I think you will find in the future, that if you raise an objection about an issue, your arguments will carry more weight if you avoid blanket statements about a specific gender or race and consider all the facts before making such a general condemnation.

  13. isolde, what part of the word sons,do you not understand?
    what part of sons of confederate veterans eludes you? all
    they ask for is proof a son is a descendant of a honorably
    discharged confederate veteran or rendered honorable service
    to the csa. once again ignorance trumps all.

  14. I think the real issue here is that he calls Hopkins “enlightened.”

    What I’d like to know is how many of the commenters here are one of Baltimore’s 400,000 African-American residents? We now know WHY such a statue exists but what about the second question? How do black Baltimoreans feel about the statue?

  15. Robbie Whelan seems to be one who not only would destroy those memorials to a past with which he does not agree but would incite others to perform the destruction on his behalf.
    So there for tolerance and “diversity of ideas”.

    And for Isolde, the Sons of Confederate Veterans are indeed males. That’s because they are SONS, for heaven’s sake. Southern ladies have their own organization, The United Daughters of the Confederacy, and they are co-sponsors of the Lee-Jackson ceremony.

  16. I think Johns Hopkins demeans itself and its students by stooping so low as to pit one group of Americans, i.e. the NAACP and an aimless group of Whitey penitents, against Americans whose ancestors went South during colonial times when the Indian lands beyond the Appalachians were closed to settlers.
    As Sons of Confederate Veterans our experiences are so much richer and educational than anything Mr. Brody and the venerable Johns Hopkins University have to offer. I don’t have time or space here to explain.

  17. Yes, gentlemen, I understand that. And setting aside your suggestion that I am ignorant – I’m assuming none of you even know who or what “Isolde” is – any organization that chooses to exclude entire portions of a population should anticipate that it will itself be excluded from time to time. Live by the discriminatory sword, die by it. You confederate folk ought to get that analogy, I think.

  18. Removing the statue does not nothing to change Baltimore’s (and Maryland’s) history in the civil war. Baltimore was occupied by the Union Army throughout the war and the first blood shed during the war was shed in Baltimore when southern sympathizers fired on the Union army. If anything, MORE information about Maryland during the civil war should be provided. Put up an interpretative marker, but don’t try to whitewash history.

    If we want to get hypothetical about the thoughts and wishes of Baltimore’s 400,000 African-American population in relation to “one of the state’s most enlightened learning institutions”, I would think increasing the number of African-American students at Hopkins would be of a higher priority than moving/destroying a statue that hardly anyone is aware of.

  19. Robbie, you could add a little nuance by noting that your own great-great-grandfather was a Confederate cavalryman (from Maryland), and that you are therefore eligible to be a member of the SCV. I gather you have chosen not to join, but you would at least admit that history, including family history, is complicated.

  20. A man who would incite others to unhorse his own great-great-grandfather, whilst slipping a dagger into his very back!

  21. “Isolde” might be interested to know that women fought on both sides in the so-called Civil War – disguised as male soldiers. There were also plenty of women near the front lines as nurses. And of course who ran the farms and plantations, did all the chores the men-folk used to do before they went into the armies – women.

    My entire family participates in remmebrances to our ancestors – no one is excluded from ceremonies and parades.

  22. Hello “Isolde,”

    I’m assuming your “name” refers either to a character from medieval literature or you’re named after the “On-Line Isotope Mass Separator” at CERN. More to the point …

    “any organization that chooses to exclude entire portions of a population should anticipate that it will itself be excluded from time to time. ”

    Does mean that JHU or any other university accepting public funds could justify denying access to the Black Congressional Caucus, the Black Data Processing Associates, the Black Graduate Engineering & Science Students, the Black Graduate Students Association, the Circle Association, the Ebony Queens Motorcycle Club, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Organization of Black Airline Pilots, the Organization of Black Designers or the Union of Black Episcopalians? Just wondering? I think the law states otherwise. Or should in a society truly interested in removing all descrimination based on race, creed, religion, natonal origin, or sexual orientation. I hope you aren’t seriously espousing the silencing (or discouraging) of thought or beliefs that you might find objectionable or counter to your own.

  23. “Winger on November 20th, 2008 12:38 am
    Well, let’s look at a list:
    1.) Baltimore is situated below the Mason / Dixon line.
    2.) The battery on Federal Hill faces the city not defends it.
    3.) The first blood spilled in The War Between The States was on President Street.
    4.) Maryland’s State Song urges Maryland to join The Confederacy.
    5.) Maryland was kept in The Union by force.
    6.) Many of the war’s final battles took place in Maryland.
    7.) Baltimore was one of the only Southern towns not to be destroyed precisely because it was occupied by Federal forces.
    8.) Baltimore has long and deep southern roots.
    THAT is why Baltimore still has such a beautiful statue.”

    What you’re saying above is not completely true. If the State of Maryland was going to join the Confederacy when why did it supply the following units for Federal service.
    Three Regiments of Cavalry
    Two Battalions of Cavalry
    One Independent Company of Cavalry
    Fifteen Regiments of Infantry
    Four Battalions of Infantry
    One Independent Company of Infantry
    Six Batteries of Artillery
    Six Regiments of USCT

    The same state that organized 39 units for the north supplied the south with only one regiment and one Battalion of Cavalry, four batteries of Artillery, one Regiment, three Battalion and a few independent companies of Infantry. Now that does not look like a pro southern state. You talk about hiding southern history but you just ignore what Marylanders did in support of the Federal government. Now you hiding the whole histroy of this Great State?

  24. While I would never advocate the destruction of fine statuary of such historical and political importance, I do see the value in denying such a polarizing group access to the institution’s facilities. Hopkins’ relationship with local residents involves some tension relating to the university’s perceived elitism and its history of racism. This might be just the thing needed to raise support in a community that does not support the ideals of the Confederate cause.

  25. Hey Born,

    Maryland Confederate Regiments
    First Artillery-“Maryland” or “Dement’s”
    Second Artillery-“Baltimore Light”
    Third Artillery
    Fourth Artillery-“Chesapeake”
    First Cavalry
    Second Cavalry
    First Infantry
    Second Infantry
    Units of Marylanders Serving in Other State’s Regiments
    Zarvona’s Zouaves – 47th Virginia
    Maryland Guard, Co. B, 21st Va.
    Maryland Guerilla Zouaves, 2nd Co. C, Nelligan’s Louisiana Infantry

    The Captain of the CSS Ironclad Virginia (aka Merrimac) was Franklin Buchannan from Baltimore

    General Isaac R Trimble built most all Md railroads and then went on to serve the Confederate military, Buried in Md.

    Hey smart guy Whelan,

    Ever wonder why 1/2 the Maryland State Flag bears 2 Confederate symbols?

  26. It might also be recalled that after May 1861 the Confederacy could no recruit in occupied Maryland and that many in the above listed Yankee regiments were not Marylanders at all but fresh off the boat immigrants mercenaries paid a substantial bounty.

  27. In addition , many Marylanders served in Confederate units not designated as Maryland . The 21 st Virginia Infantry is a good example . My great great uncle from Calvert County was in the
    5 th Alabama.

  28. Robbie, Who knew there were so many confederates who know how to use computers!
    What are you going to dare to write next? That slavery was a bad thing?
    Shame on you Mr. Whelan!
    David

  29. I would like to return to Mr. Donald Smith’s first post, because he was on to something big, but doesn’t know it. Mr. Smith compares Mr. Whelan’s disapproval to ‘Nazi book-burning,’ but the real comparison should be to the de-Nazification of Germany which took place (with American help but limited success) after the war. Comparison of the Confederacy’s pro-slavery politics with Nazi racial theory doesn’t strike me as far-fetched, and the lamentable 100+-year history of lynchings and Jim Crow that followed the South’s defeat suggests to me that more thorough de-Confederacization would have been a good idea. Particularly as I discover in these comments that the feudal and despotic worldview of the Confederacy lives on. But perhaps it’s not too late. Anyone for de-Confederacizing our public sphere, once and for all?

  30. Hey Billy Bearden,
    The only Confederate Regiments from Maryland (10 companies for Infantry and 12 for Cavalry which makes up a regiment) that were formed were the 1st Maryland Infantry and 1st Maryland Cavalry. The rest were smaller units for example: The First Artillery-”Maryland”, Second Artillery-”Baltimore Light”, Third Artillery, Fourth Artillery-”Chesapeake” were not regiment but companies of Artillery (which is about 100 men and 4 to 6 Artillery pieces.) The majority of Western Maryland was pro Northern and that’s why Maryland would never have seceded from the Union.
    Your right, the Confederate Maryland units were not able to be form in the state, but if the majority of Maryland citizens were so pro southern then why not do what the pro southerners Kentucky men did and form units in Tennessee (Virginia for MD men)? They did do this but could not get enough men to fill their ranks and that the reason that the 2nd Maryland Regiment of Infantry (CSA) was redesignated as the 1st Maryland Battalion of Infantry. The Maryland troops that fought for the federals were not all immigrants as you state but from all parts of the State and even from Pro Southern areas like the eastern shore. By the way the pro southern area of Eastern Shore raised two regiments for Federal service.
    I personally don’t ignore that Maryland had citizen that fought for the south but respect all Marylanders who join to fight for the cause they believed in no matter what side it was. It does not look like you do the same but want to rewrite history by ignoring that Marylanders also served the Federal Government with honor!
    “Ever wonder why 1/2 the Maryland State Flag bears 2 Confederate symbols?”
    I ask you if you ever wonder why ½ the Maryland State flag bears two Union symbols?
    Next time your honoring Jackson and Lee on their birth day remember and honor Brigadier General John Reese Kenly. He was one of the key officers that kept the peace and stopped the Baltimore police from destroying bridges in Baltimore with his regiment. That Regiment was the 1st Maryland Infantry (US) and John Kenly was its commanding officer.

  31. I completely support your idea to have the statue removed to another location away from Hopkins…maybe Robert E. Lee Park or some location on the Eastern Shore or Richmond.

    The statue that needs to be buried and replaced by one dedicated to Thurgood Marshall is actually the one of Chief Justice Roger Taney in Mount Vernon Square.

  32. Hey Billy:

    Colored Regiments from Camp Stanton Baltimore Maryland:

    4th Colored Infantry Regiment
    7th Colored Infantry
    9th Colored Infantry
    19th Colored Infantry
    39th Colored Infantry

  33. Hey Unreconstructed:

    If Southerners were so uniformly and fanatically devoted to the cause and volunteered to fight, they why are you IGNORING the FACT that the Confederacy passed the first (of three) Conscription Acts in American history on April 16, 1862 almost a year before the North did?

    There was no general military draft in the United States until the Civil War. The Confederacy passed its first of three conscription acts 16 April 1862, and scarcely a year later the Union began conscripting men.

    About 1/3 of Confederate soldiers were forced into service by the draft or Conscription Acts and until 1864, the wealthy and large slave holders were excluded or paid their way out of service by hiring a:

    “substitute. As a German, Scheuber was not subject to Confederate conscription and therefore could serve in someone else’s place. Carter possessed both the motives and the means to avoid military service. In addition to wanting to escape the dangers inherent in life in the army, Carter possibly feared both losing control of his slaves and exposing his family to the enemy, especially with the Union army, as part of its attack on Vicksburg, less than fifty miles north of his home. With Carter’s wealth exceeding $120,000, his agreement to pay Scheuber $2,500 at the end of the war and to provide Scheuber’s wife with $20.83 per month (10 percent per year) until that time would not prove an insurmountable financial burden. Although Scheuber may have needed the money, he did not live to see the end of the war, perishing at Berwick Bay in April 1863, less than one year after signing his contract with Carter. During Scheuber’s time of service, Carter paid the money to three of the German’s female relatives, but it remains unclear whether he paid the full amount upon Scheuber’s death. (1)

    The story of men such as Robert Carter and Frederick Scheuber illustrates the dramatic impact of Confederate conscription on Southerners

    http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-7103943/A-very-disagreeable-business-confederate.html

  34. “Unreconstructed on November 26th, 2008 5:12 am
    It might also be recalled that after May 1861 the Confederacy could no recruit in occupied Maryland and that many in the above listed Yankee regiments were not Marylanders at all but fresh off the boat immigrants mercenaries paid a substantial bounty.”
    —————————————————————————————

    This is an interesting statement! Where do you base your statement off of? I’ve looked at roster of different Federal units from Maryland and this did not point to the fact that the soldiers were immigrants straight off the boats. If this was the case why would each regiment not just setup recruiting station right at the Baltimore Harbor instead of having them all over the different parts of Maryland? Now who is rewriting history it looks to me like the Southerners are.

  35. Trimble was a Virginian and most of the immigrants spoken of did not come here to fight for the Union. Calling them “mercenaries paid a substantial bounty” is twisting the truth!

  36. david halbritter

    another halbritter served west virginia from wheeling unit so guess that makes me a yankee darnit . when i seen the statue on tourist map i went there and seen it and it is great i also went to art museum and had lunch there and i do this every year so the statue is generating money for the erea plus stonewall and lee are not hated people so i say taking down that statue of those christain men is wrong and plus 70%of the soldiers in the confederacy did not own slaves-the fact is they were invaded.slavery was 100% wrong . i live in hanover and there is a church that was confederate hideout so maryland needs to leave the statue alone

  37. Well, gosh. I’m glad david halbritter weighed in and proved every possible Southern stereotype well founded.

    And I’ve taken my name from the medieval tale, or the opera. I like both. And my family background is Celtic.

    To those who suggest I think it is okay to discriminate: no, I don’t. I thought that was the point I was making, albeit wrapped in my trademark sarcasm. But I think it is the height of chutzpah for an organization that does discriminate to complain when it feels the brunt of it. We lawyuhs call that estoppel.