Another local Confederate memorial disappeared from public view last night, when Howard County work crews removed a large commemorative stone located right outside the circuit courthouse in Ellicott City.
County Executive Allan Kittleman put in a request with his jurisdiction’s Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, Aug. 16, to remove the stone. After a review and a five-day public comment period, crews visited the sight during the evening yesterday and carted it off in a flatbed truck.
The memorial displays a coat of arms and, per geo-cataloguing website Waymarking.com, includes text that reads, “By the Howard County Confederate Monument Association in honor of these brave men who fought so courageously in the Confederate Army.”
“It has become increasingly clear in recent weeks that memorials such as this are hurtful to many residents in our community and elsewhere,” Kittleman, a Republican, said in a statement. “Given these feelings and the tragedy in Charlottesville, I felt compelled to remove this memorial from public property.”
— Allan H. Kittleman (@HoCoGovExec) August 22, 2017
The memorial stone is being relocated to the Howard County Historical Society’s museum. It’s at least the sixth one in the Baltimore area to come down in the last two weeks. Mayor Catherine Pugh sneakily had Baltimore’s four controversial statues taken down overnight one week ago, and days later state elected leaders arranged for the removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney’s bust outside the State House in Annapolis. (Taney wasn’t a Confederate sympathizer, but issued a decision in the 1857 case Dred Scott vs. Sandford that said black people, freed or enslaved, could only be property and never citizens.)
Cities and states around the country have been busy removing their Confederate memorials and statues in response to the hate-fueled violence that hit Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, Aug. 12. Hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists convened in the town that day to protest the proposed removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. In subsequent clashes with counter-protesters, three people – including 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and two Virginia state troopers whose helicopter crashed while monitoring the unrest – were killed, and 35 others were injured.
Similarly to Baltimore’s stealthy removal operation, crews went out the Ellicott City Circuit Courthouse and dug up the memorial stone late at night. According to state historical trust records, the memorial was dedicated in September of 1948. A Howard County circuit judge whose father’s name is on the memorial helped install the stone there, but Kittleman’s administration maintains “no county officials played a role in the dedication.”
County Council Chair Jon Weinstein called for the the stone to be moved to the historical society’s Civil War collection. Kittleman said that will allow visitors some more context about the piece.
“We can’t forget that this symbol and symbols like this represent hate and cause many people pain,” Weinstein said in a statement. “The monument is not representative of who we are as a community today and does not belong on grounds of a building that represents justice.”
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