Maryland to Remove Civil-War-Era Statue of Dred Scott Chief Justice

Maryland will officially remove its statue of Chief Justice Roger Taney, who was responsible for upholding the practice of slavery in the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, by the request of Republican Governor Larry Hogan. 

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the governor said, “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.” He believes that removing the statue is “the right thing to do.”

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1835, where he remained for nearly 30 years. His most prominent case was that of Dred Scott, a decision that ruled black people could never be American citizens, effectively upholding the practice of American slavery. The decision is also thought to be an indirect cause of the Civil War. 

The request by Gov. Hogan comes amid an ongoing, contentious debate between people who try to defend the Confederacy as part of American history and those wishing to do away with memorials around the country that honor and continue to fuel racist rhetoric. 

On Monday evening, in response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence, North Carolina protesters toppled a Jim-Crow-era monument that represented a soldier who fought in the Civil War. The Southern Poverty Law Center is also mounting a campaign to encourage southerners with Confederate monuments in their towns to call and request their local governments remove them. Color of Change also has a sweeping petition to remove all the monuments across the country. 


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