Maryland Hauls Away Statue of US Justice Who Upheld Slavery

A statue of the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans has been removed from the grounds of the Maryland State House in Annapolis.

The statue of Roger B. Taney was lifted away by a crane at about 2 a.m. Friday. It was lowered into a truck and driven away.

WBAL TV shot video of the statue being hauled away overnight. Capitol police stood guard at the statue around the clock starting early Wednesday, WBAL reported.

A panel voted by email Wednesday to remove the statue, which was erected in 1872.

Taney was the author of the 1857 Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs. Sanford, which held that African-Americans were not citizens and "had no rights, which the white man was bound to respect." His statue sat outside of the State House. 

Gov. Larry Hogan said earlier this week that removing the statue was "the right thing to do."

“While we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history," he said. "With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately."

House Speaker Michael Busch, who voted for removal, wrote this week that the statue "doesn't belong" on the grounds. His comments came after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. 

There was a copy of the statue of Taney in Baltimore at Mount Vernon Place. Following the deadly attack after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pushed for the removal of the Taney statue and all Confederate statues in the city.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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