In regard to the controversy surrounding the Talbot Boys Monument, Councilmember Price’s proposal for a Unity Monument representing Talbot’s Confederate and Union soldiers, should be welcomed by all. My interactions with many in the community welcome this "unity” monument. These same folks have supported the Talbot Boys Monument; however, fear of retaliation and being falsely accused as “racist” or a “white supremacist” has kept them from speaking out. I suppose when you have no other defense, name calling is what happens. However, as the great Socrates said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

The history surrounding the Talbot Boys and why they fought has been thoroughly addressed by many others in previous submissions. Only the historically ignorant who have no clue about the truth of our local history would consider removing the Talbot Boys Monument. Essentially, our Confederate ancestors fought an illegal invasion sent into our State by the tyrant Lincoln. These were brave men who considered their rights attacked and their constitutional liberties invaded. They were defending their families, their homes, and their country. I would hope that I would be as brave as them should such an unlawful invasion occur, and my liberties threatened.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “Fight for the things you care about.” Well, I care about the Talbot Boys Monument, and I will continue to fight for it. The “Move the Monument” coalition expects everyone to view and define the Talbot Boys Monument their way. Well, they don’t have the authority to do that. They don’t have the right to trample on what means something to others. This “coalition” has publicly proclaimed “Hate based” labels upon our Council members who didn‘t vote how the coalition wanted, and did so in the national press!

The Talbot Boys Monument matters; our heritage matter; our ancestors mattered, and we should continue to defend their honor. It is our duty to preserve Talbot County history. That history includes the valor and sacrifice of all soldiers, including the “Talbot Boys.” After the Civil War ended, our men in gray were accepted back into society by the United States and their fellow veterans that wore the blue. What has happened to their shared spirit of unity? Why can’t we come together like them, and work towards a common goal of the creation of a Unity Monument that will tell our unique Civil War history?

CINDY STEEDMAN

Cordova

(1) comment

tmdowns1@aol.com

The conflict between the ‘move’ and ‘preserve’ values reflect the forces in the U.S. that are tearing our democracy apart.

Compromise is required for us all to move forward together. One of the issues that potentially helps create some common ground for compromise is that recognition of the USCT (US Colored Troops as they were designated by the Federal Government at the time). There were seven regiments of the USCT raised in Maryland during the war and at least two of them were raised, in part, in Talbot County. These troops faced greater risks than white soldiers, since these troops were often executed or sold back into slavery if they were captured in battle. In spite of this, these troops fought with great courage during the Civil War. There is a small plaque at the Ferry Pier in Oxford that memorializes the departure of some of these troops and shows more USCT soldiers on that one boat than the 96 names on the Talbot memorial. There may have been as many as 500 Talbot African Americans who served in the Civil War, given Frederick Douglas’ tireless efforts to raise troops here. After the war, these veterans often formed communities together, as they did at our Uniontown.

These soldiers should be recognized here. They came from here and returned here. The County should fund the research that would name each USCT soldier from the County, identify those who had died in service, and where each soldier came from or who owned them before their service. The County could also provide better recognition and context for those USCT buried at Uniontown. Memorializing them at the Courthouse is an essential part of ‘preserve.’

In understanding our heritage, we must also understand the context of this existing memorial. It was created over 50 years after the end of the Civil War when almost all of those named had died. In 1915, the movie ‘Birth of a Nation’ became the most-watched movie in America at the time. It played in some theaters for almost a year to nearly all-white audiences. The movie glorified the KKK and legitimized the organization in a way it had never been. The Klan over the next several years attacked and burned to the ground African American communities in Tulsa (OK) and Greenwood (MS); lynchings became common again. The statue was a product of those times and that is a part of our history as well.

Together, these two actions of memorializing the USTC and recognizing the context in which with current memorial was constructed would provide some ground for compromise. We can hope.

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