Four Confederate statues in Baltimore were taken down overnight, the Baltimore Sun reported — the latest in what could become a widespread trend following deadly demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Crews loaded the statues on flatbed trucks from 11:30 p.m. Tuesday until 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and hauled them away, the paper said. Mayor Catherine Pugh vowed to remove the statues, and the city council unanimously passed a resolution to get rid of them following events in Charlottesville, the Sun reported.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (Image source: YouTube screenshot)
Plus, the paper said, activists on Tuesday promised to tear down one of the statues if city officials didn't act quickly.
“It’s done,” Pugh told the paper Wednesday morning. “They needed to come down. My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could."
Pugh told the Sun that she watched workers pull the statues from their bases and arranged for the job to be done overnight to avoid the potential of violence over their removal.
“I did not want to endanger people in my own city,” she told the paper. “I had begun discussions with contractors and so forth about how long it would take to remove them. I am a responsible person, so we moved as quickly as we could."
At least one person isn't pleased by the move.
Carolyn Billups, former president of the Maryland chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, had considered chaining herself to one of the removed statues — the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Bolton Hill, the Sun noted in a separate story.
And as for the timing of the statues' dismantling, Billups offered the Sun a stinging observation: "Rats run at night."
"It's very saddening," she added to the Sun, "but at least the monuments were not torn down by angry mobs."
Billups, 65, told the paper her great-great grandfather Joseph Hardin Massie fought in the 13th Virginia Infantry in the Civil War.
Image source: YouTube screenshot
A 31-year-old artist who only called herself Joules told the paper she was riding her bicycle about 3:20 a.m. when she saw the crews at work.
"Way to be, Baltimore, sneaky style, and do it in the middle of the night," she told the Sun.
"I feel like it's a deep issue," Joules told the paper. "They're accurate, archived documentation ... But I'm not hee-hawing the Confederate flag. Maybe [they belong] in a Confederate cemetery."
The other three statues taken down were the Robert E. Lee & “Stonewall” Jackson Monument at Wyman Park Dell near Johns Hopkins University, the Confederate Women's Monument on West University Parkway and the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place, the Sun reported.
Derek Bowden agreed with the decision to remove the statues but said deeper issues need to be addressed.
"It's major in it's own right, but it's small when it comes to the bigger battle," the 59-year-old photographer told the Sun. "It's a bigger battle. This is a small victory. There's a larger issue we have to look at, with being Americans and upholding the Constitution, ... to protect all people."
Diane Lee told the Sun when she saw the empty pedestal for the Taney monument Wednesday morning she was relieved.
"Thank goodness," she told the paper. "It's about time they took that down. Nothing but a blasted eyesore.”