News & Politics

Baltimore Takes Down Multiple Confederate Statues in the Middle of the Night

And other cities could soon be following suit.

Statues being taken down in Baltimore.
Photo Credit: Screenshot / YouTube

Alec MacGillis, another journalist, posted images of the Jackson and Lee statues being taken down.

The Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced the creation of a special commission to review all of Baltimore’s Confederate statues and historical assets in June 2015.

Maryland, a slave-owning state, remained in the union during the civil war, which was fought from 1861-65. But Rawlings-Blake’s commission noted that though 65,000 Marylanders fought for the north, 22,000 fought for the Confederacy.

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Other cities and states accelerated their plans to remove Confederate monuments following the violence in Virginia.

Only two statues were taken down immediately, in Gainesville, Florida, where the Daughters of the Confederacy removed a statue of a Confederate soldier known as “Ole Joe”, and in Durham, North Carolina, where protesters used a rope to pull down a Confederate monument dedicated in 1924.

Meanwhile in Birmingham, Alabama, the city used a wooden structure to cover up a Confederate monument in a downtown park on Tuesday night. Legislators passed a law earlier this year prohibiting the removal of structures including rebel memorials. So Birmingham mayor William Bell ordered the city’s 52-foot-tall Confederate obelisk covered with wooden panels.

Leaders of a New York Episcopal diocese said they would remove two plaques honouring Lee from a church property in Brooklyn.

Donald Trump defended Confederate statues in his wide-ranging remarks at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday evening.

“This week it’s Robert E Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down,” Trump said. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Asked specifically whether Charlottesville’s Lee statue should come down, he said: “I would say that’s up to a local town, community or the federal government, depending on where it is located.”

The US president also insisted that not all of those participating in the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville on Saturday were neo-Nazis or white supremacists, drawing a rebuke from senior Republicans and praise from David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who was at the protest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Jamie Grierson is a news reporter at the Guardian. He has particular interests in policing, crime, security and counter-terrorism and corruption. You can follow him on Twitter on @JamieGrierson