Skip to main content
Blog Justice

Talbot Council Votes to Keep Confederate Monument for Now

A Confederate monument will remain in front of the Talbot County courthouse in Easton after County Council members voted down a resolution to remove it at a Tuesday night meeting.

The resolution, introduced by Council President Corey W. Pack (R), would have removed the Talbot Boys monument, which includes a figure holding an unfurled Confederate battle flag. The century-old monument memorializes 85 Talbot County residents who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War, and has come under intense scrutiny amid nationwide protests against racism.

The resolution would also have prohibited statues depicting people, signs and symbols associated with military action on Talbot County property.

Pack and Councilman Ronald E. Lesher Jr. (D) voted for the resolution, but the county council’s other three Republican members shot it down. Council Vice President Charles F. Callahan III (R) contended that the monument’s fate should be decided on a ballot rather than in a council chamber.

“This should be in the hands of the community, and not our hands,” Callahan said.

Pack warned that not removing the Confederate monument could cast Talbot County in a negative light, and might even hurt the county’s tourism and restaurant industries. He said he was disappointed by the resolution’s failure, and noted that he thinks it’s the duty of elected officials to decide on the statue’s future.

“I do not support the Talbot boys statue remaining on the courthouse lawn,” Pack said. “It is not appropriate to keep that symbol on the courthouse lawn.”

Lesher was likewise disappointed that the statue would remain on the courthouse grounds, and said “centuries-old wounds are still raw because they never healed right in the first place.”

Some state officials have called for the statue’s removal: Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) previously demanded county officials remove the monument in social media posts.

“There are times to compromise and there are times to go the last mile to do what’s right. Half-measures will not suffice here,” Franchot wrote in a June Facebook post. “The Talbot Boys Monument is a tribute to white supremacy, slavery and treason – nothing more and nothing less. It must be taken off the lawn of the Talbot County courthouse, never to be seen again.”

County Council members previously mulled replacing the current statue with a “unity statue” – one that honors both sides of the Civil War. A rough sketch of the proposed statue, presented by Talbot Councilman Frank Divilio (R) during a June meeting, featured two boys, one holding a Confederate flag and another holding a Union flag, facing each other.

“I think the community can get behind coming together,” Divilio, who ultimately rejected the statue’s removal, said at the June meeting.

While the Talbot Boys statue will remain in front of the county courthouse for now, other local governments in Maryland have removed Confederate monuments. Wicomico County officials removed a plaque honoring Confederate Gen. John Winder in June.