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This statue of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney sits on the front lawn of the Maryland State House. Some delegates have called for its removal citing Taney's role in the Dred Scott decision. (The Daily Record/Bryan P. Sears)

Hogan: Erasing Civil War history is ‘political correctness run amok’

The state of Maryland will not likely take up a review of symbols related to the Civil War Confederacy if Gov. Larry Hogan has anything to say about it.

The issue of those symbols has become a growing source of discussion and debate around the country with South Carolina approving the removal of the Confederate Flag from its Statehouse and Baltimore City ordering the review of parks and statues related to the Civil War that some might find offensive because of their ties to the history of racism and slavery in the United States.

“I would not have any interest in that,” Hogan said when asked about a similar review at the state level.

“I support what’s going on in South Carolina with the removal of the flag from there,” Hogan said. “We don’t fly the flag above the State House here in Annapolis so that’s not an issue. Some of this other stuff, to me, has really gone too far. It’s political correctness run amok. Where do we draw the line?”

The state does have a number of official symbols and statues that connect directly to Confederate sympathizers or divisive racist history in Maryland including the state song, “Maryland my Maryland,” the state flag  and a statue on the front lawn of the State House commemorating Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, who authored the majority opinion on the Dred Scott case in which the court ruled that neither enslaved nor free African Americans could sure the government because they could not be citizens and therefore did not have standing. The statue, however, is an offensive symbol for some including former Prince George’s County Delegate and lieutenant governor candidate Jolene Ivey, who tried to have the statue removed from the State House grounds. “I’m offended not only by the confederate flag, but by the statue of Roger Taney that sits like a turd in front of Maryland’s State House,” Ivey wrote in a post on Facebook. “Taney was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and delivered the Dred Scott decision which declared that Black people “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” I tried, unsuccessfully, to have it removed, during my first term in office. But timing, as they say, is everything.”

The effort failed at the time. A number of state officials including Hogan and House Speaker Michael E. Busch note that the State House grounds are also home to a statue of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. There is also a tree planted near Taney’s statue to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

 

In 2009, Del. Pam Beidle, D-Anne Arundel County, proposed changing the lyrics of the state song. The bill was  failed and hasn’t come back since but some in Annapolis say they expect similar efforts again in January.

 

Hogan said he’s concerned about attempts to erase or re-write history.

“It’s starting to get to the point where it’s gone too far,” Hogan said. “We can’t pretend as if there wasn’t a Civil War and we’re going to remove every Civil War person from our history books.”

 

 

3 comments

  1. Frank Marshall

    Lets not stop at removing confederate statues. Hell, lets remove the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial as both of those men were slave owners. They did not abolish slavery when they had the chance in creating the United States of America.

    Must we forget that Maryland was a slave state as well as a Southern State. If it was not for the marshalling of the union army in downtown Baltimore and the imprisonment of the Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland as well as other political leaders, this state may have succeeded from the Union.

    Today we live in the great State of Maryland who takes pride in its history and its people of all races. We have made great strides in equailty. Voting in a Korean American as well as an African American to top polictical positions as Lieutenant Governors.

  2. I agree that this has gone out of control. It has never been anything other than a part of history for over 150 years, why be such a problem now? Just like Tennessee wanting to dig up the General and his wife and move them….where was they planning to move them? Also there was a Heritage act passed I believe in 2013 that prohibits just such an act of any statues or historical part of history from being removed. How can the people make such a choice to desecrate a grave?????

  3. I fail to see how not celebrating the losers of the war would erase the history of the war.

    Why don’t I know nearly as much about the Union generals as I do the Confederate generals?

    Why didn’t I know about George Proctor Kane and his role in ensuring the safety of Union troops marching through Maryland? General John Reese Kenly, who commanded the historic 1st Regiment Maryland Volunteer Infantry before his eventual promotions?

    Oh right — because all of our monuments are to Jackson and Lee.

    Talk about erasing history and about forgetting important elements of the war… it was pretty important that Maryland was fought for the Union, with 2/3rd of all soldiers from Maryland fighting for the Union vs. the Confederacy.