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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Md. State House Trust votes to remove Taney statue

The panel that oversees the State House and its grounds has voted to remove the statue of the chief justice of the Supreme Court who authored the Dred Scott decision.

Roger Brooke Taney monument on the front lawn of the Maryland State House (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Roger Brooke Taney monument on the front lawn of the Maryland State House (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Three of the four voting members of the State House Trust — Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Maryland Historic Trust representative Charles L. Edson — voted via email to remove the statue of Roger Brooke Taney.

Busch called for the removal of the statue of Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision that declared slaves were property and and therefore had no rights, on Monday following a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, touched off by the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Hogan joined Busch in calling for the statue’s removal on Tuesday.

The statue was placed on the front lawn of the State House on Dec. 11, 1872. There have been a number of unsuccessful efforts by legislators to have it removed.

Former Prince George’s County Democratic Del. Jolene Ivey advocated for its removal and wrote on her Facebook account that Taney’s statue “sits like a turd in front of Maryland’s State House.”

In March, relatives of Taney and Scott met on the front lawn of the State House in front of the Taney statue in an event billed as a reconciliation ceremony.

Lynne Jackson and Charlie Taney called for the state to add statues of Dred Scott and Frederick Douglass and re-position the statue to face the new displays in a symbolic conversation.

Jackson said at the time that she hoped the reconciliation of the two families would have meaning in the national conversation on race relations.

“If the Taneys and the Scotts can be reconciled, can’t anybody else?” Jackson said at the time.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., the fourth voting member has not cast a vote. A spokesman for Miller said he had not seen the question oor the email roll call.

“It was our understanding that there would be a public meeting to vote on this and discuss other issues,” said a spokesman for Miller. “That’s where we last left it.”

Miller has not supported the removal of the statue but has said he wouldn’t block it either.

The three votes in favor guarantee the statue will be removed.

It is not clear when the statue will be removed. Language voted on by the trust called for the “Maryland Commission on Artistic Property immediately coordinate with the Department of General Services to remove the statue of Roger Brooke Taney from the grounds of the State House and further to confer with the Maryland State Archives to plan for its storage or relocation.”

The vote comes on the same day that Baltimore City removed four Confederate Civil War monuments in the middle of the night.

 

 


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