Commission to Review Baltimore's Public Confederate Monuments
On June 30, 2015, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the creation of a special commission to review all of Baltimore’s Confederate statues and historical assets. Under the request, Mayor Rawlings-Blake directed the special commission to launch a conversation about each of the different Confederate-era monuments and other historical assets and make recommendations for their future in Baltimore.
On September 4, 2015, the appointees to the Commission were announced. Mayor Rawlings-Blake selected four members from the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), and three members from the Baltimore City Public Arts Commission. There will also be a Mayoral staff representative on the Commission.
Over the next six months, the commission will conduct a thorough review of Confederate monuments on City-owned property including gathering research and soliciting public testimony. Based on the findings, the commission will issue a series of recommendations to the Mayor for the future of the monuments. The recommendations might include, but are not limited to, preservation, new signage, relocation, or removal.
Currently, there are four Confederate monuments on City property that are to be reviewed by the commission. They are: Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument located on Mount Royal Avenue near Mosher Street; Confederate Women’s of Maryland, located at Bishop Square Park; Roger B. Taney Monument, located on Mt. Vernon Place in North Park; and Lee & Jackson Monument, located in Wyman Park Dell.
The Mayor has stated that "It is important that we recognize the delicate balance between respecting history and being offensive. I believe that by bringing together representatives from the art community and historians, and gathering public testimony, we have a better chance of understanding the importance of historic monuments—not only the significance they have in our history, but the role they should play in our future.”
As part of its research, the Commission will gather information on how other cities have handled similar circumstances regarding historic monuments – looking at Confederate-era statues in American cities, as well as elsewhere around the world.
Public comments are welcome via mail or email - please visit the Commission's website, http://baltimoreplanning.wix.com/monumentcommission.
The commission's report and recommendations are expected to be delivered to the Mayor in 2016.