Frederick city and the state of Maryland have gone crazy and the inmates are running the asylum. This frenzy of removing anything that even hints of slavery or the Confederacy has got to stop. Yes, we are rewriting history when we want to remove the Roger Brooke Taney bust from city hall grounds and hide it in a museum somewhere. This is history. We can not change history nor can we rewrite it. As Michael Powell stated (“Community weighs in on Taney statue relocation,” Aug. 13), removing the statue would be deleting Taney from city history. Are we going to rename Taney Avenue or any other places named for the chief justice?

History is there to teach us. By removing the bust we are missing an opportunity to teach people that we have come a long way from the Dred Scott decision. As was stated by Lois Noffsinger Spurrier, Taney was a “judicial purist.” He followed the law and interpreted it as it was written. He did not make the law, he only enforced the law of the time. So if we remove him, we must remove our Founding Fathers rom places of prominence. They wrote the laws.

I write this from Hagerstown (I grew up in Frederick County), a city surrounded by and steeped in Civil War history. The Civil War happened and so did slavery; that will never change. It can’t be changed. As I stated, history teaches us. If we hide it and don’t mention it, it is still there and we will be doomed to repeat it.

Susan Smith


(8) comments


Ms Smith: The Taney memorial has to go from the front of Frederick’s City Hall because it misrepesents the history of this City. Taney in the Dred Scott decision and after championed a notion of ‘negro’ inferiority extreme even for the time, asserting they were sub-human, mere property and subject to enslavement everywhere. Throughout the civil war which he helped provoke, Taney worked to undermine the Union and was lucky not to be arrested and charged with treason. In his early years he may have been a ‘legal purist’as you say, but in Dred Scott he discarded all that, and delivered an outrageously unconstitutional and illogical ruling - a total disgrace.

Frederick was a Union city during that war and an avid Confederate partisan like Taney has no place beside the patriot and founding father Thomas Johnson at the entry to our City Hall - a location under the shadow of the US and state flag that proclaims these two people as our City’s heroes.

Taney was never a hero of Frederick. Born and raised on a slave tobacco plantation in Calvert County he left Frederick as soon as he became successful at law and spent only a quarter of his life here. Frederick was a strong Union city and his prominent position at City Hall is all wrong. Those of us urging removal of his memorial are quite happy to see it relocated to another prominent public place. Our only demand is that he go from his present location at the entry to City Hall, a position which speaks to our values as a City. Peter Samuel, Frederick


What are the VALUES of Frederick, Maryland today and what it was 158 years ago?
Can we be proud of the fact that Frederick, Maryland remains as racist as it ever was?

Look around. Where in Frederick will you not find the Dred Scott ruling still exist in policy as practice?

How many blacks or minority populations are represented in Frederick City or County; TODAY or YESTERDAY? Isn't City Hall, yourself and Frederick County Government perpetuating thev SAME LIE that you are most willing to distort, to appease your notion of racist politics, disguised as HISTORY, you can't bring yourself or your governmental minnions to accept or even recall?

Live the LIE all you want, and transcribe history into your own perspective, when Roger Brooke Taney gave his MAJORITY OPINION, and nothing more, to the HISTORY of Frederick City and County that speaks to the same Dred Scott decision that still exist in the MINDS of our local inhabitants. This dialogue perpetuates nothing more than another Dred Scott decision that Frederick wants to rid of itself of, and PRETEND that bigotry,segregation, bias and prejudice no longer exist in Frederick, Maryland when it really does.

You can manipulate history, as most politicians do, like yourself and the history of Frederick, Maryland, but the Taney statue represents TODAY as much as it did yesterday and another white population that can't bring themselves to let go of what we remain to be, while disguised in distorted rhetoric, that turns out to be yet another LIE we tell ourselves from one day to the next.

I'm all about the LIE. It's my occupation to distinguish between the two and decide who the best liar is, and so far you have as yet to make the cut.


Varies. No. Most everywhere. Varies. No.


Put in your front yard with your Confederate Flag.[beam]


Aw, Taney has another friend.
He wouldn't be "deleted," his bust would be moved to where it would cause no misinterpretation of intent.
As for me
I'm gonna scrub that Taney outta my hair
I'm gonna scrub that Taney outta my hair...


Taney did, in fact, "make the law." For only the second time in US history, his ruling declared that an act of Congress, the Missouri Compromise, was unconstitutional. He declared that no black person, whether then slave or free, or their descendants could ever enjoy the status of a citizen, with, significantly, the rights to vote or to file legal actions in court.

If it were to grant Scott’s petition for release from bondage, the Court said: "It would give to persons of the negro race, ...the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased ...the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went."*

Incredibly, the Court declared that it had no jurisdiction over Scott's appeal--but ruled on it anyway! This was a clear signal, advancing the principle of "state's rights" over the authority of the central government, with all that it implies; including the extension of slavery to all US territories and even to the established free states. This was a huge victory for the existing slave states, a decision that would seriously undermine and threaten the political and Constitutional balance between North and South. The decision led to the Civil War, with its massive loss of life and destruction of property.

That is the history. No one in Frederick or anywhere else is “rewriting” or "scrubbing" anything but we aren’t about to ignore the worst decision the Supreme Court has ever made. We aren’t about to honor anyone who, at this critical time, was so very, very wrong. History will remain where it belongs, in books and museums, where Taney’s bust should now reside.



Substance rules


Leave the memorial alone. It is where it belongs.

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