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Confederate monuments come down

Four Confederate monuments in Baltimore were torn down overnight at the order of Mayor Catherine Pugh. She said she was concerned about the “safety and security” of the people of Baltimore after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Saturday turned deadly.

The action came after the Baltimore City Council adopted a resolution Monday calling for their removal. It also pre-empted calls from local activist groups to tear down one of the statues on Wednesday.

Crews working for the city began moving in shortly before midnight Tuesday on four monuments, the Jackson-Lee Memorial in Wyman Park Dell, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mt. Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway and the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place.

Taney, a chief justice of the Supreme Court from Southern Maryland, was the author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and held that blacks had no rights “the white man was bound to respect.”

By Wednesday morning, the monuments were gone. Only the pedestals remained where people had spray painted, "White Supremacy is terrorism" and "Black Lives Matter."

A local artist has installed a sculpture about ten feet high of a pregnant black woman with a baby on her back, her left fist held up as a sign of power and defiance.

Pugh suggested earlier that the monuments be moved to Confederate cemeteries, but there are no plans yet as to what to do with them.

Meanwhile, Gov. Larry Hogan and Mike Busch, speaker of the House of Delegates, have called for removal of the Taney statue from the State House grounds.

Early Wednesday morning, people were snapping selfies and taking photos of kids in Wyman Park Dell, where the monument to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson once stood.

Larry Wallace, 54, of Baltimore brought his seven year old daughter out. He said city leaders had discussed the monuments’ removal for a long time – but they needed to take action.

“I believe it was removed because they don’t want the same thing to happen in Baltimore city that happened in Virginia,” he said. “I’m glad peace was here.”

Mary Rose is a reporter and senior news producer for 88.1 WYPR FM, a National Public Radio member station in Baltimore. At the local news desk, she assigns stories, organizes special coverage, edits news stories, develops series and reports.
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