After standing in front of the Maryland State House for 145 years, a statue of former Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney was removed just after midnight on Friday, marking another city’s response to a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
The State House Trust Board voted Wednesday to dismantle the memorial of Taney, who authored the court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision that declared blacks would never be considered U.S. citizens. The statue has been moved to a Maryland State Archives storage facility, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Gov. Larry Hogan is chairman of the four-member State House Trust Board, which voted by email to remove the Taney statue, The Washington Post reported.
Hogan previously opposed taking down the statue but said in a statement on Tuesday that “while we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history.”
The statue’s dismantling was not made public beforehand, but a few dozen people watched as workers began, and some cheered as it was taken down, according to The Sun. Doug Mayer, Hogan’s spokesman, said the state decided to keep the removal quiet and do it overnight “as a matter of public safety,” The Post reported.
The removal of the Taney statue in Annapolis comes days after Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh had all four of the city’s Confederate monuments — a statue honoring Taney, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Confederate Women’s Monument, and a monument of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson — removed in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Cities nationwide have taken part in the national debate of whether to keep or remove similar Confederate statues after a white nationalist rally turned violent in Charlottesville last weekend, when a 32-year-old woman was killed after a car plowed into a group of counter protesters.
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday morning that removing these statues was “so foolish.”
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump wrote. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it.”