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Gov. Hogan wants controversial statue removed from Maryland State House grounds

On the 160th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, descendants of Scott and Taney come together at the Taney statue in front of the Maryland State House, Monday, March 6, 2017, in Annapolis, Md. On March 6, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Dred Scott v. Sandford, ruled 7-2 that Scott, a slave, was not an American citizen and therefore could not sue for his freedom in federal court. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called Tuesday for the immediate removal of the statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who wrote a decision upholding slavery, from the grounds of the State House in Annapolis.

The monument to former Taney sits on the front law of the Maryland State House. Taney, a Maryland native, wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to black people.

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“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,” Hogan said in a statement Tuesday.

The Republican governor asked that actions be made immediately to remove the statue.

“…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.”

Maryland Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch, a Democrat, said Monday the monument to Taney “doesn’t belong” at the State House in Annapolis.

Hogan and Busch are part of the four-member State House Trust, which oversee the use of buildings, grounds and any exhibits on display. Another member, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, said he’d prefer the statue remain, but he would not stand in the way of removing it if that were what the governor wanted, according to The Baltimore Sun.

 

The governor’s remarks come days after hundreds of protesters gathered in Charlottesville over the weekend to decry a gathering of white supremacists to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue. A woman was killed when a car plowed into a crowd.

Jolene Ivey, a former state delegate who ran for lieutenant governor in 2014, said she was thrilled with the governor’s decision.

“It’s been such a long time coming! I am the happiest person in Maryland right now, I’m 100 percent sure of it,” said Ivey, who pushed for that statue’s removal in 2007.

Ivey, a Democrat, explained as a freshman delegate back in 2007, she was surprised to learn the history behind the Taney statue. On her Facebook page in 2015, she wrote that statue sits “like a turd in front of our State House.”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.


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