Being a Talbot Council member is a tough job — many important decisions to be made and no shortage of critics. But Council members were elected to be leaders in the County; to listen to constituents; to become informed about factual issues; and to make decisions that are in the best interests of the County. The three Council members who have consistently opposed moving the Talbot Boys Confederate Monument need to take a difficult step — namely they need to let their views evolve and vote for removal.
Over months of discussion we have learned much more about the Monument— not only when it was installed and where it was made, but more importantly how hurtful it is to our Black citizens. The discussion about the Monument has reminded us how our Black citizens were harmed by the Jim Crow laws that came into effect after the Civil War. Long after slavery was abolished, they were treated as second class citizens. Access to education, to good jobs, and to equal justice in the courts were all restricted.
The Monument is a reminder of those dark parts our history — slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow — that harmed Black families. The Monument does not belong in front of our courthouse — a place that should be aspiring to provide equal justice for all.
These three Council members need to acknowledge that times have changed. Across the country, a new awareness of images and words that perpetuate racism has resulted in numerous changes such as statues being removed, state flags being changed, and state songs being amended.
Leaders have to make hard decisions, including deciding that with new information they need to change their position on an important issue — in this case, they should courageously vote in favor of removing the Monument from the courthouse grounds.
SARAH RAMSEY and ROBERT KELLY