Hogan pledges no change to state flag despite secession symbol

WASHINGTON — Maryland’s governor has promised that the state flag will stay the way it is.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s statement Thursday comes amid a national debate over what should be done with Confederate monuments and emblems.

Maryland’s banner includes a red-and-white pattern that was adopted as a symbol of resistance among Marylanders who supported secession and by Maryland troops who joined the Confederate army while the state remained part of the Union during the Civil War.

“Not only is the Maryland state flag a symbol of unity and pride, but it is also the most beautiful and most recognized state flag in America,” Hogan said. “You can rest assured that it will never be changed as long as I’m governor.”

Although no state lawmaker has proposed changing the flag, it could be become a target as leaders in communities around the country debate changing or removing Confederate symbols after calls to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville sparked violent protests.

A group called “Red Maryland” has gathered about 50,000 signatures with an online petition calling for Maryland’s flag to stay unchanged.

“We urge our leaders to reject radicals who want to force us to change our state flag, and we urge our leaders to stand up for a flag that unites all Marylanders under a common banner,” the petition states.

Hogan posted a link to the petition on his Facebook page.

Last week, state officials removed the controversial statue of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from outside the Maryland State House in Annapolis, a move Hogan supported.

“The time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history,” the governor said of the Taney statue.

Taney penned the 1857 Dred Scott decision that denied citizenship to slaves and said that “the enslaved African race were not intended to be included” in the words “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence.

Earlier this month, the City of Baltimore tore down a statue of Taney along with three Confederate monuments in the middle of the night.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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