Those who oppose the removal of the confederate monument from the grounds of the Talbot County Courthouse attack the recently filed Federal lawsuit to force the removal by blaming “disingenuous outsiders and their hand-picked, local agitators.” The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Maryland Office of the Public Defender and one of its defense attorneys who works in the Talbot County Courthouse and the Talbot County Branch of the NAACP and its President. These plaintiffs and most of those who support the removal of the confederate monument are not outsiders. They are the sons and daughters of Maryland and Talbot County.
The “outside agitators” defense takes us back over 50 years ago to the time when Alabama Governor George Wallace and Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor blamed “outside agitators” for “stirring up trouble” for causing local demonstrations protesting African-American citizens being denied service at lunch counters, being denied the right to vote, being denied the right to go to good schools, being denied the right to buy homes in the “better” neighborhoods. Of course, one of those “outside agitators was The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote in his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail:
“Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being ‘disturbers of the peace’ and ‘outside agitators’, but the Christians pressed on.”
I do not say that those who support the confederate monument are reborn George Wallaces or Bull Connors. I do contend that the old trope that the effort to move the confederate monument is caused by outside agitators and not a locally based, has a long and odious history.