By JULIO CORTEZ
EASTON, Md. (AP) — A statue that was thought to be the last Confederate monument on a courthouse lawn in Maryland was removed Monday.
The “Talbot Boys Statue” was removed first and workers then loaded the stone base onto a flatbed truck by crane as small crowd watched. Some passing motorists who asked what was happening, cheerfully replied, “finally!” when they heard the news.
“Hallelujah!” said Sheryl Goodspeed of Easton. “I was very happy.”
The statue that stood on the Talbot County courthouse lawn in Easton for a century was thought to be the last Confederate monument still standing on public property in Maryland other than cemeteries and battlefields. The 13-foot (3.9-meter) tall, copper sculpture features a boy holding a Confederate flag and names the men from the Eastern Shore county who joined the Confederacy and died in the war.
After the county council voted to approve its removal in September, the Move the Monument Coalition raised more than $80,000 to relocate the statue to Cross Keys Battlefield in Harrisonburg, Virginia, according to Ridgely Ochs, a member of the coalition’s leadership team. The historic battlefield is in the care of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
Many memorials to the Confederacy were taken down in the wake of the 2020 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody. The monuments have long been viewed by many as symbols of white supremacy.
The effort to remove this statue, not the first, grew out of people’s desire to do something concrete after Floyd’s death, Ochs said.
“We’re all extraordinarily and profoundly happy that it has happened,” Ochs said. “It’s gone. It went well. It was peaceful and respectful.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center said that about 700 Confederate statues are still positioned near government buildings and in other public places throughout the United States.