A statue of the judge that upheld slavery in the U.S. has been removed from the Maryland State House’s grounds in Annapolis, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The Sun reported Friday that the tribute to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney has been moved from its former location after 145 years. Taney delivered the majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1857, a decision which allowed U.S. slavery to continue and ruled that blacks could not become American citizens.
The judge’s statue was reportedly taken from its former base and placed on a flatbed truck in Annapolis around 2 a.m. local time Friday. The image will next be moved to a secure Maryland State Archives storage facility, according to an email outlining the plans obtained by The Sun.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Tuesday that he supported relocating the statue of Taney from State House grounds. The Maryland State House trust voted to do so Wednesday, according to The Sun, with three of the group’s members voting in favor and a fourth refraining from voting.
Hogan previously backed keeping Taney’s statue at its original location before changing course this week.
“[It’s] the right thing to do,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
“While we cannot hide from slavery – 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.”
Twitter users on Friday began debating the Maryland State House's decision, with some calling it justified and others describing it as unecessary.
Maryland State House - Roger B Taney was a racist but freed his slaves. GW was a racist but did not. Where is the line in honoring racists?— Jay Enn (@Auroraknite) August 18, 2017
Slowly but surely, U.S. is removing symbols of racism and slavery: Roger B. Taney removed from "Maryland State House". Great day today.— cyn mona (@cyn_bklyn) August 18, 2017
National debate is raging over public displays of slavery-era figures following last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. White
nationalists descended upon the city one week ago to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The situation turned violent, however, when white nationalists and counter-protesters physically clashed last Saturday. One person died when a man drove a car into a crowd of people demonstrating against white nationalism. Two Virginia State troopers were also killed last Saturday in a helicopter crash authorities have linked to the unrest in Charlottesville.