House speaker seeks removal of Civil War plaque from Maryland capitol over kudos for Confederates
Adrienne A. Jones, the Democratic speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, sought Thursday to remove a plaque honoring Civil War soldiers from the State House in Annapolis.
In a letter to fellow members of the State House Trust that oversees the site, Ms. Jones took issue with the plaque recognizing Marylanders who fought in the war for either side.
“The message projected by this plaque does not seek to correctly document history but instead sympathizes with Confederate motivations and memorializes Confederate soldiers,” she wrote.
“As the State House Trust, it is our obligation to continue to ensure that the State House grounds are a reflection of Maryland’s rich history and not a home to relics of the Confederacy.”
The letter was sent to Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, a Republican, state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Democrat, and Laura Mears from the Maryland Historical Trust.
Mike Ricci, a spokesperson for Mr. Rutherford, said the request was being reviewed, The Baltimore Sun reported. Mr. Miller and Ms. Mearns could not be reached for comment, the report said.
Dedicated in 1964, the plaque features both the U.S. and Confederate flags above a message recalling Maryland’s “nearly 63,000 native sons who served in the Union forces and the more than 22,000 in those of the Confederacy in the War Between the States.”
“In commemorating the centennial of that great struggle between the citizens of the temporarily divided nation in the 1860′s the Maryland Civil War Centennial Commission did not attempt to decide who was right and who was wrong, or to make decisions on other controversial issues,” reads part of the plaque. “By doing so it seeks to pay tribute to those who fought and died. As well as to the citizens who, during the Civil War, tried to do their duty as they saw it.”
A member of the state legislature since 1997, Ms. Jones became the first African-American and the first woman to serve as the speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates when she was unanimously elected by her colleagues to replace Michael Busch, a Democrat, following his death last month.
“History clearly tells us that there was a right and a wrong side of the Civil War and ‘doing their duty as they saw it’ does not give a pass to the cause these soldiers fought for,” she wrote in the letter Thursday.
“I respectfully request the Maryland Civil War Centennial Commission plaque be removed - symbols of the Confederacy have no place in the State House.”