City of Baltimore Mulls Removing Confederate Statues by Auctioning Them Off

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (left) with then-U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on Jan. 12, 2017 (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)

For those who think that Maryland is not the South, think again. Actually, Maryland’s Eastern Shore is where two of America’s most iconic anti-slavery heroes were born into slavery: Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.

And so, the capital city in the state south of the Mason-Dixon Line is joining many others in deciding the fate of several statues of white supremacists erected after the Civil War.


The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh wants to “follow in the footsteps of New Orleans” and remove its Confederate landmarks. At issue is the cost. And Pugh has come up with an interesting proposal.

“New Orleans has taken on this issue. It costs about $200,000 a statue to tear them down. … Maybe we can auction them?” Pugh said.


Pugh’s predecessor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake appointed a commission of academic and officials to review four of its contentious landmarks: the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument; the Confederate Women’s Monument; the Roger B. Taney Monument; and the Robert E. Lee and Thomas. J. “Stonewall” Jackson Monument, all in the city of Baltimore.

The commission recommended removing the Taney and the Lee and Jackson monuments and adding signs to the two others. Taney was the Supreme Court justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision denying citizenship to African Americans; Lee and Jackson were Confederate generals in the Civil War.


The commission also noted that about 65,000 Marylanders fought for the Union, while 22,000 fought for the Confederacy, and yet Baltimore has just one public monument to the Union, which is how many “border states,” such as Kentucky, (falsely) memorialized the Civil War.

Rawlings-Blake put up signs on all of them, calling them propaganda designed to falsify history and support racial intimidation, and said that she would leave their ultimate destinies with Pugh, which is where they now lie.


To bring it all back (and to “right” history), there is a current proposal to place statues of Tubman and Douglass in the Maryland Statehouse, where yet another statue of Taney now stands.


Read more at the Baltimore Sun.

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About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.