Baltimore takes down Confederate statues in middle of night

Memorials in city removed days after a Baltimore city council vote on the issue

Workers remove a monument dedicated to the Confederate Women of Maryland early on Wednesday in Baltimore, Maryland. Photograph:  Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP

Workers remove a monument dedicated to the Confederate Women of Maryland early on Wednesday in Baltimore, Maryland. Photograph: Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP

 

Confederate-era monuments were quietly taken down in the middle of the night in the US city of Baltimore.

Journalists in the Maryland city reported on Twitter that the statues were being removed days after a Baltimore city council vote on the issue.

The memorials in the city include the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway, the Roger B Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place, and the Robert E Lee and Thomas J “Stonewall” Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell.

Confederate-era monuments fell back into the spotlight at the weekend when a civil rights activist died during violence at a far-right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia against plans to removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, who commanded the Confederate army of northern Virginia.

Journalist Baynard Woods posted video of the Taney and Women’s monuments being driven away.

Alec MacGillis, another journalist, posted images of the Jackson and Lee statues being taken down.

The Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced the creation of a special commission to review all of Baltimore’s Confederate statues and historical assets in June 2015.

Maryland, a slave-owning state, remained in the union during the civil war, which was fought from 1861 to 1865. But Rawlings-Blake’s commission noted that though 65,000 Marylanders fought for the north, 22,000 fought for the Confederacy.

Other cities and states accelerated their plans to remove Confederate monuments following the violence in Virginia.

Only two statues were taken down immediately, in Gainesville, Florida, where the Daughters of the Confederacy removed a statue of a Confederate soldier known as “Ole Joe”, and in Durham, North Carolina, where protesters used a rope to pull down a Confederate monument dedicated in 1924.

On Tuesday evening Donald Trump insisted that not all of those participating in the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville on Saturday were neo-Nazis or white supremacists, drawing a rebuke from senior Republicans and praise from David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, who was at the protest.

Guardian service