In 1913, a monument was erected to honor Maryland Confederates. Since then, the statue of a Confederate Cavalryman given to Montgomery County by the United Daughters of the Confederacy has become a source of controversy. It currently stands right outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Rockville Town Center.
After having been vandalized in 2015 with the words “Black Lives Matter,” it is now shielded from the public eye by a plywood box.
Weighing nearly 13 tons and standing over 20 feet tall, the statue bears the following inscription: “To Our Heroes of Montgomery County Maryland: That We Through Life May Not Forget to Love the Thin Gray Line.”
Members of the Confederate army wore gray uniforms, and the thin gray line is a reference to the shrinking number of Confederate veterans in the aftermath of the war.
County Executive Ike Leggett recognizes the historical significance of the statue, yet he feels as though it does not reflect both sides of the unfortunate struggle of the Civil War. In particular, Leggett argued that it would not be reasonable to have the Confederate statue in such a prominent location, considering that Confederate ideals differ greatly from those of Montgomery County.
Richard Montgomery High School sophomore Erica Baranick feels the same. “I think it’s a good idea to remove it…The Confederacy represents so many ideals that today are seen as so negative and they are,” she said.
The monument will be moved in late spring or early summer from its current location outside Montgomery County’s historic Red Brick Courthouse to White’s Ferry, which is located on the banks of the Potomac River. This move will be paid for by taxpayers, though some feel as though this is not the right course of action. Leggett had formerly approved a relocation proposal to the Beall-Dawson House, a pre-Civil War home now operating as a museum, but this proposal was rejected.
“I’m glad they’re getting rid of it but I don’t see the point in just moving it. Maryland is much more liberal now than it was then. They’re getting rid of it because people don’t like it here, but people aren’t go to like it there. They should just melt it down,” RM Sophomore Keira DiGaetano said.
Montgomery County expects to receive bids on moving the Confederate statue at the beginning of April.
Article by MoCo Student staff writer Robyn Fohouo of Richard Montgomery High School