Maryland is a first rate state, period. It is a state that is rich in history and diversity. Our population, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report revealed the coexistence of over six million people in our state. The Bureau’s break down for Maryland in 2016 was 59.3 % White alone, 30.7% Blacks alone, .6% American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 6.6% Asian alone, .1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders, 2.8% two or more races, 9.8% Hispanic or Latino. Marylanders’ diversity is evident despite America’s historical lack of recognition of freedom and civil liberties for all.
One of our Marylanders, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roger Brooke Taney, wrote the opinion in the landmark case Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857). Mr. Dred Scott, was attempting to sue for his freedom in this case. The U.S. Supreme Court of 1857, created the rule of law in the Dred Scott case that slaves could never be free. The Dred Scott decision led to the four year Civil War of 1861 – 1865 that ended slavery. To appease the bitter taste that lingered by many as a result of the end of slavery, in 1872, Maryland erected an 83,000 pound statue in honor of Chief Justice Taney and placed it in Annapolis at State Circle. The Dred Scott ruling and the Civil War will forever be a part of American history, consequently there is no need to laud the author of the infamous decision with a seven foot, bronze monument in the name of preserving history.
History, by definition, focuses on past events. It will always be preserved as long as there are writers, artists, musicians, photographers, and orators recording it. Taney was undeniably a proponent of the destruction of basic civil liberties and an opponent of the diversity that make Maryland the first rate state that it is today. In 2017, 160 years post the Dred Scott decision, the time has come to take down the lofty Taney statue and other confederate monuments. When we take them down, we make new history. It is time to remove Taney’s statue so that as Maryland remembers what was, we have hope for what is to come.