160 Years After He Upheld Slavery, Roger Taney's Bust Leaving Frederick City Hall

Maryland jurist wrote 'Dred Scott' decision that upheld slavery

A statue of the judge who wrote the U.S. Supreme Court's 1857 decision that upheld slavery will be removed from Frederick City Hall on Saturday.

Roger Brooke Taney practiced law in Frederick from 1801 to 1823. He then became the nation’s fifth chief justice of the Supreme Court. 

He's remembered as the author of the 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which upheld slavery and stripped African-Americans of their rights. It is considered one of the court's worst decisions of all time. A later chief justice called it the court's greatest self-inflicted wound.

Taney’s great-great-grand-nephew publicly apologized for the Dred Scott decision on its 160th anniversary.

Taney’s bust, as well as the bust of Maryland’s first governor and slave owner, Thomas Johnson, will be relocated to Mount Olivet Cemetery, where Johnson is buried.

The city’s Board of Aldermen voted to move Taney’s bust in 2015.

Both statues will undergo restoration before being permanently placed in the cemetery. The bust was vandalized in 2015. 

The statue of Taney has been a source of controversy in Frederick for years. Public debate in 2009 prompted the city to add a plaque, explaining the Dred Scott decision, which will also be relocated to the cemetery.

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