Frederick to Relocate Statues of Roger Taney and Slave-Owning Governor

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Another Roger Taney Statue in Mt. Vernon, Baltimore
Another Roger Taney Statue in Mt. Vernon, Baltimore

While Baltimore struggles to find a place for two of its embattled statues, the City of Frederick is now preparing to send its own racially controversial stone heads to a literal graveyard.

Per the AP (via the Sun), Frederick’s Historic Preservation Commission voted yesterday to permit the removal of a bust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney. Taney was the justice who affirmed slavery was legal even in its final years by writing the Dred Scott decision in 1857. The commission also approved the removal of a statue paying tribute to the first Maryland governor, Thomas Johnson, a verified slave owner.

Frederick aldermen voted to remove the Taney statue last year, a move that Mayor Randy McClement said he opposed due to the costs and the aesthetic results for the City Hall building.

However, after the commission’s vote yesterday, the busts will now soon head to Mount Olivet Cemetery down the road in Frederick.

Baltimore officials have struggled to make moves signifying the city is confronting celebration of Confederate or slavery-supporting historical figures. A seven-member commission appointed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in September that monuments to Chief Justice Taney in Mt. Vernon Place and Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in the Wyman Park Dell must go.

The commission also told the city to display signage at the other two statues — one showing Confederate soldiers and sailors and another memorializing Confederate women — that provides some historical context.

So far, the city hasn’t had much luck finding takers for Taney, Jackson and Lee.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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