A Maryland county voted this week to keep a statue honoring Confederate soldiers on its courthouse lawn, spurring a protest outside the meeting that prompted officials to conclude the session early.
The “Talbot Boys” memorial has stood since 1916 on the lawn of the Talbot County Courthouse on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, erected more than half a century after the Civil War’s conclusion. It commemorates 84 soldiers from the county who fought for the Confederacy and is thought to be the only Confederate memorial on state property in Maryland.
A measure to remove the Talbot Boys was introduced earlier this summer amid nationwide demonstrations against Confederate imagery following the killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. On Tuesday, sitting in the courthouse in Easton, yards from the memorial, the Talbot County Council voted 3 to 2 to keep the statue in the same place it has stood for 104 years.
Talbot County Council President Corey W. Pack (R) said the vote was “disappointing.” He had voted against an attempt to remove the statue in 2015 but changed his mind and co-sponsored a resolution to remove it after Floyd’s killing.
“You shake your head,” he said. “You kind of hope that there will be another day. . . . I’m sure the statue will not go away.”
Richard Potter, president of the Talbot County branch of the NAACP and a longtime opponent of the statue, blamed the vote on “three racist council members” who attributed their votes to limited public input during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a bunch of surface-level excuses that continue to uphold systemic racism in Talbot County,” he said.