As a mom, a grandmother, teacher and lifelong Frederick resident, I am immensely proud of Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak. Her tireless leadership for equality, fairness and decency have finally succeeded in the removal of the Justice Roger B. Taney bust from the grounds of City Hall. No one debates the quality of the artwork in the bust. What is unarguable is that bust memorialized one of the darkest periods in American history. Justice Taney wrote the Supreme Court majority ruling in the scandalous Dredd-Scott decision, which upheld the legality of slavery. Justice Taney also held that no one of African lineage (free or slave) could be worthy of citizenship with respect to the United States Constitution. The Dredd-Scott ruling made the US Civil War inevitable. For the last 19 years, Alderwoman Kuzemchak (or “Donna K” as she is known to many locals) has led the fight for what’s right in advocating to remove the Taney bust from City Hall. On Saturday, March 18, Donna K and supporters won this battle – and Frederick City is better for it. Both the busts of Governor Thomas Johnson and Justice Taney are now due to be placed at Mount Olivet Cemetery. We cannot undo the past. But we can stand, presently, for equality and fairness – for decency in support for our great community. Donna K stands for equality and fairness – for decency. She fights for what’s right. An advocate like no other and I thank her.

Cindy Small


(23) comments


More PC BS!


Good letter. Good results. Way to go, Donna K!!


Hello Cindy, You say you are a teacher. That may be but if so your subject surely wasn't history. The Dredd Scott decision didn't make the Civil Way inevitable. The Dredd Scott decision was an attempt to avoid the Civil War. The Civil War became inevitable because of the Mexican War and the Mexican Cession of the Southwest. The additional territory ceded by Mexico caused the argument over extending slavery into the territories to heat up which ultimately led to Civil War. This was U.S. Grant's opinion as expressed in his memoirs and I agree with him. Any Alderman that wastes their time over issues like the Taney bust isn't attending to their larger duties and obviously isn't doing their job for the people of Frederick. Perhaps the people of Frederick should consider this in the next election.


I find this whole conversation odd. Every society, almost from the beginning of time has embraced slavery. Every man, woman, and child, of all colors and ethical backgrounds have suffered from slavery of one sort or another and sadly it still exists today in some areas of the world and in some religions. Slaves built the great pyramids and monuments in Egypt. Slaves built the Roman coliseum. Slaves fought in coliseums around the ancient world. Slaves built the Mayan empire. Any and every civilization that conquered another used the vanquished as slaves. Should we destroy the pyramids? The coliseums? Destroy all of the statues erected honoring the ancient who were slave holders? How about we blow up Mount Rushmore? Change the name of every national building or street that dares to honor a slaveholder? What name should we change Washington DC to? How about Monticello? A home built by slaves? How about the slave quarters on the property, should we destroy all remnants of our historic buildings? I could continue but there would be no point. My family never owned slaves, and yes, I am proud of that fact, I despise slavery in any form. But that is not the point. The point is slavery existed, we need not erase history because it isn't going to make the past go away, but these monuments can stand as a reminder of 'never again'. If we are going to rid ourselves of our unsavory historic past then we need to be consistent and remove all monuments that are connected to slavery no matter what their shape or form.


Could you explain how moving a couple of busts from one public location to another public location "erases" history?

Also, if the busts had originally been located in Mt. Olivet cemetery and were being moved to the space in front of city hall, would that also constitute "erasing" history? Why or why not?


These busts and backyard chickens are the pressing issues facing Frederick city- and county I suppose. The fact that the Golden Mile has become the Wild West? That would be hard to fix so you stick with this Donna and co. Nice work. Sheesh.


Hello des I agree with you.


So Cindy, are you now calling for the name change of Gov. Thomas Johnson High and Middle schools, since Thomas Johnson did own slaves? I find that offensive being a name of a school then!


What else did Johnson do for America other than own slaves?


Governor of Maryland and delegate to the Continental Congress.


Will we now put Thomas Jefferson and George Washington in exile? They owned slaves. It doesn't matter how many statues you get rid of - history is still history. It doesn't change. Slavery was a terrible thing and an abominable example of man's inhumanity to his fellow man, but it did exist, and will always be a part of history.


But they treated their slaves like family so they're okay.


Actually George Washington freed his slaves during his lifetime and Martha Washington freed hers in her will. Jefferson's common law wife was a slave and half sister of his first wife. Jefferson's common law wife and their children were freed in his will. So I guess they really did treat their slaves as family.




We outlawed slavery and thus removed it from history. Just like the busts of ... you know ... those two guys.


Outlawing something hardly removes it from history. What a bizarre remark, public.


Hmm, you're not too swift today.




That would be sarcasm 7. Look it up.


I think we judge each case on its own. Jefferson and Washington, overall, did far more for America than Taney and Johnson.

Now, can we get on with erecting a memorial to the real American victims/ heroes of slavery - the slaves themselves who gave their lives to build this country's economy, and who, against all odds, survived.

Maryland citizens were once enslaved. That, we must never forget.


I was actually thinking about that when I commented. Locally, I know of at least 1 church built by slave labor in Frederick County. There are probably more examples.


Hello sevenstones. The slaves helped to build the economy of the country. However, I think folks like Vanderbilt, Carnegie. Morgan and Rockefeller may have had some contribution to building up our capitalist system. Personally, I think it's past time to put the anachronism of slavery behind us and move on. We could probably do this if it wasn't for the race based politics of a certain political party.


I just checked my history books, and they are still there, huh.

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