In the wake of the Charleston church shooting, cities and towns across the country took a second look at their memorials and statues dedicated to Confederate heroes. In Baltimore, city officials are considering renaming Robert E. Lee Park. In Frederick, city officials recently got one step closer to removing a bronze bust of Roger B. Taney, the Frederick native and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who authored the notorious Dred Scott decision that enshrined slavery in the United States.
At its last meeting, a majority of Frederick’s Board of Aldermen agreed that it was time to move a bronze bust of Taney from its point of pride in front of City Hall, and perhaps donate it to a local museum or historical site. Frederick’s mayor opposes the action, noting that relocating the statue would cost as much as $10,000 and would also leave an unaesthetically pleasing gap in the City Hall courtyard. (Maryland Governor Larry Hogan also resisted calls to get rid of a statue of Taney that sits on the State House grounds in Annapolis.)
Maryland has long had a fraught relationship with Taney, as the Wall Street Journal reports. In 1967, the state erected a statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, alongside one of Taney; in 1993, Roger B. Taney Middle School was renamed for Marshall as well.
There are still a few more steps to be taken before any final action is taken on Taney’s Frederick statue. But all signs point to its relocation sometime in the near future.
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