Confederate Statue in Rockville Will Be Relocated

The Montgomery County Council plans to relocate the Confederate statue in Rockville after a small meeting of historians and experts gathered to debate the issue Monday.

“Our goal should not be to erase history but to gain a better and deeper understanding that reflects a variety of perspectives,” Council President George Leventhal saidin a memorandum.

The Council plans to place the statue in an “appropriate location with new interpretive information that fully tells, from all perspectives, what happened in Montgomery County during the Civil War,” Leventhal said.

This decision comes after the statue was vandalised with the phrase "Black Lives Matter" in red and black spray paint Monday morning. The 102-year-old statue sits on the east side of the Red Brick Courthouse. 

In the next few months, the Council plans to work with historic preservation staff to identify viable sites. After they gather some options, they will ask for public input on which site should be chosen.

The historic preservation staff is also in charge of developing the right information that can be displayed with the statue at its new location to explain the statue and county’s history in the Civil War.

In the mean time, the county must apply to the Rockville Historic District Commission to obtain a certificate of approval to relocate the statue, and the county executive is in charge of protecting the statue from further vandalism.

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In the small group meeting of experts, three members said they supported relocating the statue with an additional informational display, according to the meeting summary. 

Two members supported keeping the statue outside the courthouse with an additional informational display but were open to the idea of relocation.

One person supported an additional display, but strongly opposed relocating the statue.

All participants agreed that the county needed to take action, the story of Montgomery County’s participation in the Civil War needed to be told from all perspectives and the public needed to have input in where the statue would be relocated to, if the statute was to be relocated.

The group consisted of:

  • Anthony Cohen, president of Menare Foundation and Button Farm
  • Jim Loewen, a historian and sociologist
  • Linda Moran, assistant to the city manager of the City of Rockville
  • Nancy Pickard, executive director of Peerless Rockville
  • Anita Powell, president of the Montgomery County NAACP and member of the Rockville Historic District Commission
  • Laurie-Anne Sayles, president of the African-American Democratic Club of Montgomery County
  • Susan Soderberg, a historian

No elected officals were present, although City Council staff members observed the discussion. 

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