By Nia Anthony
Elm Staff Writer
What do Christopher Columbus, Silent Sam, and Albert Pike all have in common? Statues erected in their memory have all been removed in the past year as part of anti-racism efforts.
The toppling of Confederate statues, either by protestors or local governments, has become a rising form of protest over the past few years. Images like those depicting a defaced J.E.B. Stuart statue in Richmond, Va., or the now-empty spot where Robert E. Lee’s bust used to stand in Fort Myers, Fla. have been printed, posted, and tweeted for all to see.
For many, it is comforting to know that many municipalities have zero tolerance for Confederate figureheads taking up space in their town squares and in front of their schools.
In Talbot County — not too far from our very own Washington College — the local government has revealed quite the opposite.
The Talbot Boys statue has stood since 1916. It stands outside of the courthouse and depicts a young soldier holding the Confederate flag gazing into the distance with a solemn, wistful expression.
The statue was erected to express gratitude to the constituents of Talbot County during the Civil War who sided with and aided Confederate soldiers.
On Aug. 11, the Talbot County Council decided in a majority 3-2 vote that the “Talbot Boys” statue would stand as it has for nearly 104 years. Many descendants of Confederate soldiers still reside in Talbot County and were vocal about the statue staying.
Talbot County council members had varying opinions on the issue, The Washington Post said. Councilman Corey Pack had a supposed change of heart that influenced his dissenting opinion following the death of George Floyd.
“As the heart changes, the mind must follow,” Pack said.
A lot of the statue removal seen around the country has been done by protesters, who often deface the statues before tearing them down, cheering as they fall. Many people of color find it liberating to see immortalized versions of their historic oppressors topple.
If people across America link Confederate figureheads to everyday racism, and thus find solace in seeing the statues fall, it’s shocking that Talbot County would not grant their own constituents that same comfort.
After the “Talbot Boys” decision, Talbot County Council may also face serious political criticism from both constituents and colleagues. In cities such as Houston, Texas, Tahlequah, Okla., and Asheville, N.C., the county-wide removal of Confederate statues has been met with praise that directly influences how the constituents vote.
Why doesn’t Talbot County follow suit?
It is immoral to immortalize enslavers and oppressors like Saints. For a person of color, it takes a mental toll to walk past a grand sculpture dedicated to someone who onceadvocated for the demise of their ancestors. The “Talbot Boys” statue is a perfect example of such evil immortalization.
There are no embossed sculptures of Nazi perpetrators outside of German law offices, and no schools named after Joseph Stalin in Russia. Why is our country the exception when it comes to glorifying oppressors?
Talbot County Council has made a poor political and moral decision, one which we may be forced to see monumented for many years to come.
Featured Photo caption: Locals are calling for the removal of an Easton statue commemorating Maryland Confederate soldiers. Photo by Izze Rios.