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Baltimore moves forward with plans to rename site where Confederate generals once stood

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The area, which was the site of two statues of former Confederate generals, will be renamed after civil rights activist Harriet Tubman in Baltimore. (WJZ video screenshot)

A Baltimore site once named for and occupied by two statues of Confederate generals in Baltimore may soon become "Harriet Tubman Grove."

What's the story?

In August, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered a swift removal of the Robert E. Lee and Thomas  J. “Stonewall” Jackson statues from Wyman Park Dell just days after an "alt-right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent, WJZ-TV reported.

City leaders on Monday approved the measure to rename the site and are calling for it to bear the name of the civil rights activist because of the ties she had to the city.

“We’re moving forward to what is more comfortable to the city of Baltimore, and people who live here,” said Baltimore City Council member Mary Pat Clarke.

But the measure isn't without controversy from some groups.

The bases of the Confederate monuments have remained in place after the statues came down and the Sons of Confederate Veterans want them to stay there.

Here's the Sons of Confederate Veterans' statement.

It should be noted that a substantial portion of the land area, within the footprint of the property referenced in the Harriet Tubman Grove Resolution, is subject to an historical preservation easement under the authority of the Maryland Historic Trust. The deed of easement, which is perpetual in nature, includes the land and improvements where the Lee-Jackson Plaza and Monument are located. The base of the monument, which was left in place and is an integral part of the Lee-Jackson monument, remains subject to the protections of the 1984 easement. The Maryland Historical Trust has publicly stated that it will not concede that it lacks authority under the easement to compel restoration.

At a January 23 Baltimore City hearing regarding the Harriet Tubman proposal, it was noted that the project would include renaming, landscaping and refurbishment. How the final resolution proposes to address the very stringent protections afforded the Lee-Jackson Monument and Plaza by the historic preservation easement is, at this time, undetermined. We look forward to reviewing the Resolution in its final form, as well as determining compliance with the terms of the Maryland Historical Trust’s historic preservation easement.

When is the renaming expected to happen?

The city hopes to complete the change in time for Harriet Tubman Day, March 10.

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