Roger Taney was a bigoted so-and-so who used his position as the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice to issue one of the most embarrassing and dehumanizing rulings in our country’s history, which contributed significantly to the tensions that led up to the Civil War. Taney, who wrote the majority opinion for the infamous Dred Scott case, stated that African Americans were not protected as citizens under the Constitution and thus had no rights as citizens. He was a racist, responsible for possibly the worst Supreme Court decision in history, and we have a statue of him in front of the State House.
Obviously the State of Maryland means no harm and harbors no racist intentions by displaying Taney's statue. There is certainly no shortage of statues commemorating African Americans and civil rights in Annapolis-- those of Thurgood Marshall and Kunta Kinte are good examples. But while we do not suppose the State of Maryland to be racist, we know for a fact that Roger Taney was. In this day and age, it is inappropriate to display a statue of a man who used his position to successfully classify an entire racial group as unworthy of citizenship and stripped them of their Constitutional protections.
We respectfully ask the State of Maryland to remove the statue of Roger Taney from in front of the State House. While he will always be an important piece of our history, it is inappropriate to commemorate the person responsible for such an infamously racist decision as the Dred Scott case with a statue in front of a legislative building. The best course of action, to ensure that history and the aesthetically significant statue are both preserved, would be to move it to a museum of some sort--but its place in front of the state legislature is unsuitable.
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