EASTON — Following a summer of contentious debate over the Talbot Boys statue, members of the Talbot County Council are planning to introduce competing resolutions in a meeting Tuesday evening to decide on the controversial monument’s future.

A resolution to relocate the Confederate statue from its current location on the Talbot County Courthouse lawn to a Civil War battlefield in Virginia could have enough votes to pass and move the monument.

Council member Frank Divilio will introduce a resolution to relocate the Talbot Boys statue from the courthouse in Easton to the Cross Keys Battlefield, a private park in Harrisonburg, Virginia. If approved, the statue will be placed under the care of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation — a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the region’s Civil War battlefields and other historic sites.

Divilio — who voted against removing the Confederate statute last year — could garner support for his measure from council members Corey Pack and Pete Lesher. The pair favor moving the Talbot Boys and voted for its removal last year. The trio would be enough to pass the new relocation resolution.

The Confederate statue was erected on the courthouse lawn in Easton in 1916.

Pending adoption by the county council, the statue would be moved as soon as practicable, according to the resolution. Any costs associated with moving the statue will be paid from private funds, not from any Talbot County funds or taxpayer money.

Activists favoring the removal of the statue have said they are primed to raise the money for the relocation.

A second administrative resolution proposing the creation of a Civil War unity monument will be introduced by council member Laura Price. The idea is based on Easton resident Rich Merrill’s concept for a joint monument featuring the existing Talbot Boy and a newly constructed Union Boy. Merrill had contacted the county council four years earlier about his plan, but no council members pursued it at the time.

Price first spoke about her draft of the unity monument resolution at a county council meeting on Jan. 26. The full text of the resolution released Monday, Sept. 13, along with details of Divilio’s legislation.

According to Price’s draft resolution, the existing Talbot Boys monument will remain in its current location, but will be modified by adding a Union soldier of a similar size, style and design as the Confederate soldier. The names of the Union soldiers from Talbot County will also be listed on the monument, just like the current list of Confederate soldiers.

Funding for the Civil War Monument will be solicited from Maryland citizens and from the state through grant applications. If adopted, the county council will issue a request for proposal for the design of the modified monument and obtain construction estimates. The project would be authorized to begin once the council gathered sufficient funds.

But the voting math on the council could be in favor of relocating the Confederate statue to Virginia.

Ridgely Ochs, a member of the Move the Monument Coalition, said that the group opposes any proposal that keeps a Confederate monument on the Talbot County Courthouse lawn.

The Move the Monument group, which supports removal of the statue, argues that the statue is racist and offensive to those who pass it when walking in and out of the courthouse. The Preserve Talbot History group supports keeping the statue where it is, saying that removing the statue would be akin to erasing the county’s Civil War history.

A federal lawsuit petitioning to remove the Talbot Boys statue was filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland in May. The lawsuit, filed by the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union. argues that the statue is a symbol of white supremacy and slavery, and also violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it sits on public property.

The debate has also extended out of Talbot County and onto social media platforms with a much broader audience. Singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers, an Easton native, posted a video on her Instagram and TikTok accounts urging Marylanders, especially those near Easton, to come to the county council meeting to show their support for the monument’s removal.

Rogers, who performed at the 2020 Democratic National Convention and supported Joe Biden’s presidential bid, has a healthy social media following.

Members from the Move the Monument Coalition and Preserve Talbot History group are expected to come out in full force to the meeting, wearing yellow and navy blue respectively. The county council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.

Natalie Jones is a reporter at The Star Democrat in Easton covering crime, health, education and Talbot County Council. You can reach her with questions, comments or tips at njones@chespub.com.

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