In Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, we saw just how far white nationalists are willing to go to protect hunks of stone and metal shaped to look like Confederate war icons. Three people died from the violence that stemmed from thousands of white nationalists descending upon Charlottesville.
Most of the country is not willing to put up with that.
Thus, the city of Baltimore, Maryland, moved abruptly this week to take down all of their four Confederate statues. The city council approved a measure to take them down on Monday, and crews started work on taking them down late Tuesday night and were finished with the job early Wednesday morning.
The Baltimore Sun calls the removals “an abrupt end to more than a year of indecision on what to do with the memorial.” Mayor Catherine Pugh linked the city’s abrupt action to the recent violence in Charlottesville, which was sparked when, as mentioned, thousands of white nationalists descended upon the city to protest its plans to remove a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Of the removals, Mayor Pugh told the Baltimore Sun:
‘It’s done. They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could. I did not want to endanger people in my own city. I had begun discussions with contractors and so forth about how long it would take to remove them. I am a responsible person, so we moved as quickly as we could.’
Locals mostly agreed with taking the statues down. In fact, local activists had pledged to themselves take down at least one of the city’s statues themselves if the city didn’t act.
The city beat the activists to it, however.
Baltimore resident Derek Bowden summed up the issue nicely, saying:
‘It’s major in it’s own right, but it’s small when it comes to the bigger battle. It’s a bigger battle. This is a small victory. There’s a larger issue we have to look at, with being Americans and upholding the Constitution,… to protect all people.’
The city formerly had four statues. They included a Robert E. Lee & “Stonewall” Jackson Monument near Johns Hopkins University, a Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a Confederate Women’s Monument, and a Roger B. Taney Monument.
Check out a video of the Lee/Jackson monument coming down below.
— Scott Wykoff (@ScottWykoffWBAL) August 16, 2017
Featured Image via Spencer Platt/Getty Images