Mayor Catherine Pugh plans to move forward with the removal of Baltimore’s remaining confederate statues.
Pugh issued a statement on Monday saying she read a 34-page report compiled by a task force under former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and identified key steps for removal, which include “identifying legal requirements for deaccession, negotiating and executing agreements with potential recipients, procuring funding, and receiving approval from the Maryland Historical Trust Easement Committee for moving the Lee Jackson Monument.”
Pugh said she met with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to better understand that city’s monument removal process and related costs. New Orleans spent $2.1 million removing four monuments.
The mayor has also appointed a working group to lead the process of removal, including fundraising efforts and identifying construction firms for removal and storage space for the statues once moved.
“We have identified cemeteries where confederate soldiers have been buried,” Pugh said in a statement. “Among the identified cemeteries are the Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland and the Point Lookout Confederate Commentary in Scotland, Maryland. We will inquire as to their willingness to accept the monuments and prepare agreements for the transfer.”
Sunday, councilman Eric Costello sent a letter to the city solicitor urging for the removal of confederate monuments in Baltimore, saying it part.
"I write to you today to request your opinion on the legal requirements to remove, relocate, or reinterpret the four existing public confederate monuments in Baltimore City. My hope is that once this clarification is received, Baltimore City government is positioned to take swift and decisive action."
Costello recommended the following for each of the four monuments:
- Lee Jackson Monument (located at the west side of the Wyman Park Dell, near the intersection of Wyman Park Dr, Art Museum Dr, and N Howard St) – remove, deaccession and offer to the National Park Service to be placed in Chancellorsville Battlefield;
- Roger B. Taney Monument (located at the North Square of Mount Vernon Place, directly north of the Washington Monument) – deaccession and move it from Mount Vernon Place;
- Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (located in the median of Mount Royal Avenue near the corner of Mosher Street in Bolton Hill) – retain with the addition of financial support and very serious recontextualization; and
- Confederate Women’s Monument (located at Bishop Square Park, at the intersection of E. University Pkwy and N Charles St) – retain with the addition of financial support and very serious recontextualization.
The announcement comes after nearly 1,000 people marched in Baltimore's Wyman Park in protest against race-fueled rallies held in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend. Protesters met at a statue of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson near Johns Hopkins University to call for its removal.
Read Mayor Pugh's full statement:
It is my intention to move forward with the removal of Baltimore City’s confederate statues. I have read the recommendations of the task force set up by the previous administration which were reported in January 2016 and provided to the public in writing in August of 2016.
The 34 page report gave recommendations for moving forward including legal and procedural requirements. The report provided the history of the monuments and why two of the monuments should be removed and not destroyed; The Lee Jackson Monument on the Westside of Wyman Park Drive, Art Museum Drive at Howard Street and the Roger Brook Taney Monument in Mount Vernon Place in the North Square directly North of the Washington Monument.
The report concluded that a “deliberate and transparent process should be put into place. The Commission further suggests that a small working group of city officials headed by the Mayor’s Office be charged with the task. This group should have the following members: Staff of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts and the Department of General services’ Historic Properties Program Coordinator.
Various tasks that need to be completed include identifying legal requirements for deaccession, negotiating and executing agreements with potential recipients, procuring funding, and receiving approval from the Maryland Historical Trust Easement Committee for moving the Lee Jackson Monument.
It is my understanding that to-date none of the recommendations to remove the monuments have not been implemented. The re-contextualization of the other two monuments has been completed.
- I have met with Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans to understand the process he used in removing the monuments and the cost related to their removal. In New Orleans the cost of removing four monuments totaled $2.1 million dollars. The cost attributed to actual removal of the four statues was $1.065 million, which does not include police and security overtime, and storage cost.
- I have taken steps to appoint a working group to lead the process for removing the confederate monuments. I am adding two members from the private sector to help us with the fundraising. Anyone wishing to contribute can forward their contribution to the Baltimore City Foundation/Confederate Monument Removal.
- In writing requesting approval from the Maryland Historical Trust Easement Committee to remove the Lee Jackson Monument.
- Requested that local construction firms examine the process for removal of the monuments and provide the city with a proposal for removal.
- We have identified cemeteries where confederate soldiers have been buried. Among the identified cemeteries are the Washington Confederate Cemetery in Hagerstown, Maryland and the Point Lookout Confederate Commentary in Scotland, Maryland. We will inquire as to their willingness to accept the monuments and prepare agreements for the transfer.
- Identify storage space for the monuments after removal.
- After receiving reports from the task force and the contractors, we will provide a public time line for removal of the monuments.