In a stunningly swift move, Baltimore removed all four of its Confederate statues in the middle of the night Tuesday, only one day after the removal was approved by the city council.
All of Baltimore's confederate monuments are gone. pic.twitter.com/a14QhTWI1d— Baynard Woods (@baynardwoods) August 16, 2017
From 11:30 pm to 5:30 am, cranes and trucks removed statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, the Confederate Women of Maryland, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and a statue of Roger B. Taney, the former chief justice who authored the notorious pro-slavery Dred Scott decision, according to the Baltimore Sun. Where the statues will go is currently unknown.
“I did not want to endanger people in my own city,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said. “I had begun discussions with contractors and so forth about how long it would take to remove them. I am a responsible person, so we moved as quickly as we could. “
Activists atop the Lee Jackson statue base. pic.twitter.com/IHbFtVQ81w— Baynard Woods (@baynardwoods) August 16, 2017
Baltimore’s removal contrasts the processes seen in New Orleans and continuing in Charlottesville, where months of debates surrounding the fate of statues prompted multiple protests. In the case of Charlottesville, these protests turned violent over the weekend, killing one and injuring at least 19.
Baltimore seemingly wanted to avoid the potential for violence, as there was no advanced notice as to when exactly the city was planning to remove the statues. Anthony McCarthy, a spokesperson for Pugh, told me Monday that Pugh was, “moving quickly,” and planned to set up a task force on Wednesday to begin the removal process. But the entire process of removing the statues was completed before then.
Trump added fuel to the fire on Tuesday afternoon, when he backtracked his statements on the violence in Charlottesville and equated white supremacists to those who fight racism.
Across the nation, at least 700 Confederacy linked statues and monuments remain, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.