Confederate Monuments in Wyman Park Dell


Note: These tour notes were prepared by Eli Pousson in November 2015 for a Baltimore Heritage tour and discussion program organized on December 5, 2015 in advance of a public meeting on December 15, 2015 by the Special Commission to Review Baltimore’s Public Confederate Monuments.

Please join us for a walk around Wyman Park Dell and Charles Village to learn about ongoing review of Baltimore’s public Confederate monuments, the history behind these statues, and the complicated issue of public memory and public art. This tour is intended to create a safe place for learning and discussion about both Confederate and Union monuments and their meaning in the past and present. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s Commission to Review Baltimore’s Public Confederate Monuments is currently developing recommendations for the treatment of four Confederate monuments located on city property. The Committee will hold its final hearing on December 15, and this tour is a good opportunity to learn more about the monuments and reflect on your own views ahead of time. You can also read a working draft of the Baltimore Heritage study of these monuments here.

This program is free but participants are welcome to make an optional $5 donation to support our work. We are trying to arrange for warm refreshments following the walk and allow further time for questions and discussion. Stay tuned for details! For questions, please contact Eli Pousson at 301-204-3337.

What is this tour about?

  • History of the monuments on the tour as artworks and public memorials
  • History of Confederate memory in Baltimore and the United States
  • Past and present social context of monuments/public art in Baltimore
  • Past and present physical context of Wyman Park Dell/Charles Village
  • Alternate approaches to the interpretation of Baltimore’s monuments

What are the goals of this tour?

  • Help participants prepare informed testimony for December public hearing
  • Engage area residents in a close look at two Confederate monuments subject to the ongoing review
  • Explain the ongoing review process
  • Create a space for constructive discussion about the monuments
  • Solicit and record comments/reflections about the monuments


  • 75-90 minute walk
  • Questions and discussion welcome
  • Optional discussion to follow (inside for comfort)

What are we going to see today?

  • Union Soldier’s and Sailors Monument
  • Johns Hopkins University Campus
  • Johns Hopkins Bust
  • Sidney Lanier Monument
  • Confederate Women’s Monument
  • Lee-Jackson Monument

John Quincy Adams said:

“Democracy has no monuments. It strikes no medals. It bears the head of no man on a coin.”

Dr. Paul Shackel asks:

Should local, state, and national parks continue to support a memory of the era in which historic sites were created—in the name of American heritage—or should these sites be seen as dynamic, fluid, and changing places that serve the needs of contemporary society?

Mark Leff (1995) on why people critique “revisionist” history:

This epithet, “revisionist,” … may be the key to understanding the current crisis of history. “Revisionist” meant the displacement of the more happy-faced, elite oriented view of American progress and destiny to which most Americans, particularly those raised on “consensus history” textbooks, had became accustomed. At the same time, the use of “revisionist” as a term of abuse suggests a reaction of the very notion of historical reinterpretation, under the assumption that the displaced version of history had been objective and factual, while the revisions were subjective and faddish.

Source: Memory in Black and White (Notes)

Union Soldier’s and Sailors Monument

  • April 5, 1906: Maryland State legislature authorized funding for the construction of the Union Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Baltimore. Likely a reaction to the installation of the Confederate monument on Mount Royal in 1903.
  • November 6, 1909: Monument dedicated in Druid Hill Park
  • 1959: Baltimore relocated the monument to Wyman Park Dell to make way for the construction of the Jones Falls Expressway through Druid Hill Park.

The plans for the monument prompted a striking response from a number of opponents including one woman who sent a series of letters to the Sun (signing them “A Maryland Woman”). The first letter, published on June 19, 1906 stated:

”The State erected no monument to her Colonial or Revolutionary heroes. No marble tells of their deeds, raised at the expense of the taxpayers. Why, then, should one go up to a motley throng of negroes and aliens. Look at their pension lists and see. By what right did the Legislature of 1906 pass a bill giving the people’s money, or the Governor sign it, for such a purpose? Erect a monument to what? Considering who composed the Maryland Federals, no wonder the State Treasury had to furnish the money. We pay taxes for their pensions, without objection, but to be forced to pay to give them a monument is past endurance. […] As the last General Assembly and Governor Warfield compel us to pay $25,000 to erect a monument, we ask the favor to be allowed to present a design, hoping to make it tell true history. I do not think I make a mistake in saying that the majority of native-born who wore the blue at that period were negroes. Certainly, they gathered by the hordes in camps through Southern Maryland. I would suggest this monument be a block of ebony on a base of tar, and a master hand wield the chisel.

After describing a series of racist scenes for the monument, the letter claimed that the legislature had proposed a monument to “oppression and negro insolence, forcing contribulations [sic] from us, the descendants of Southern men and women, who had the courage of their convictions and never faltered in loyalty or love, but were supreme in both.”

After the letter met with equally strong responses and critiques, “A Maryland Woman” wrote back in a letter published on June 23, 1906:

The act to take $25,000 from the State Treasury to erect a monument to the soldiers of Maryland does not say “to the white,” etc.—it could not discriminate. How will you eliminate the soldier negroes? Will you say to them, Because you are negroes this monument is not for you? You cannot refuse them full recognition on it, a place at every ceremony and full share in the orators’ glowing eloquence. You must accept your negro companion in arms. He wore the blue and carried a gun. I think all fair minds will say that this monument represents his services equally with yours. This is the inevitable result of asking the State to pay for it. Had you, who wish to honor your dead, erected it at your own expense and by your own exertions, you could have a white monument, with names of white comrades carved on it.

Finally, on July 17, 1906, “A Maryland Woman” again responds again to critics, writing:

”Yes, there stands another monument here, erected by the efforts and the work of the Southern women of Maryland, with loving hearts and willing hands, but not one cent of the State’s funds was asked or received. It stands, white, as stainless as the lives, as pure as the souls of our dear dead heroes—our gloria victis to the end of time.

Johns Hopkins Bust

  • Dates: Dedicated 1935, moved 1955
  • Location: N. Charles and E. 33rd Streets
  • Dimensions: 19 feet tall
  • Material: Bronze and marble

Sculptor: Hans Schuler

  • 1873: Johns Hopkins dies
  • 1875: University established in his name
  • 1935: Erected at N. Charles and E. 34th Streets [Who came?]
  • 1952: 2 firefighters killed, 6 injured when fire trucks racing to a dormitory mattress fire collided, their view obstructed by the monument
  • 1955: After 3 years, JHU and Baltimore City agree on a new site (JHU opposed a plan to locate monument on what is now “the Beach”) at N. Charles and E. 33rd Streets
  • 2001: San Martin Center built, changing the backdrop from a wooded glade to spare brick walls

About the bust

The Hopkins monument features a portrait bust of the philanthropist looking out from atop a marble pylon. On the north side of the base, a female figure holding a bowl, a serpent encircling her arm, represents healing and the hospital; on the south side, a contemplative male figure with a book and a scroll represents knowledge and the university. A fountain in front of the monument is a metaphor for the continuing impact of Hopkins’ $7 million gift to Baltimore. According to Hopkins Magazine, critics initially complained about the art (too few clothes on the allegorical figures at the base) and safety (fish ponds called for in the plans were deemed a danger to small children and never built).

About Hans Schuler

Hans Schuler (1874-1951) was a noted Baltimore monument maker whose works include Hopkins University’s Sidney Lanier and a statue of President James Buchanan in Washington, D.C.

About Johns Hopkins

A Quaker from a plantation in Virginia, Hopkins and his brothers first business was selling supplies from covered wagons in the Shenandoah Valley. Occasionally they traded goods for corn whiskey, repackaged the liquor, and sold it to Baltimoreans as Hopkins Best. After a series of businesses Hopkins eventually helped bankroll the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad during the company’s westward expansion, bailing the company out of debt several times and making himself a very wealthy man in the process. During and after the Civil War, Hopkins thrived as an investor and professional, becoming one of the richest men in American history.

SourcesMonument City Blog; JHU Magazine

Confederate Women’s Monument

  • Creator: J. Maxwell Miller
  • Location: N. Charles and University Parkway

The sculpture was created by J. Maxwell Miller, a Baltimorean, who taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and eventually became the director of the Rinehart School (also sculptor of the Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument). The sculpture depicts a dying soldier being cradled by his mother in the foreground. Behind this pair stands a woman looking off into the distance, who typifies the “devoted women of the Confederacy”. The dying soldier and his mother is a pieta, a traditional Christian sculptural subject that depicts Christ dying in the arms of his mother Mary after his crucifixion. 

The erection of the monument was part of a larger movement spearheaded by Confederate veterans beginning in 1906 to place a monument to honor the sacrifices of Confederate women in the capital of each of the thirteen Southern states. The original plan was for the states to erect a replica of the Confederate Women’s monument located in Richmond, Virginia. However, by 1910, the Maryland Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy decided to have their own design for the monument.

The inscription on the front reads:


The inscription on the back reads:


  • 1914: General Assembly of Maryland approved a bill entitled “An act to erect a suitable monument in the city of Baltimore to commemorate the heroism, devotion and self-sacrifice of the women of Maryland in their service to the wounded Confederate soldiers who came under their care in the war between the States—1861-1865.” The act appropriated $12,000 in state funding and a large number of private contributions to “The Maryland Confederate Women’s Monument Fund”
  • November 2, 1916: Confederate Women’s Monument dedicated on University Parkway
  • July 18, 1919: United Daughters of the Confederacy incorporated in Washington, DC

On October 28, 1916, the Sun reported:

”The unveiling ceremonies will be conducted by the Rev. William M. Dame, D.D. and the orator of the day will be James McC. Trippe, whose daughter, Miss Mary Ringgold Trippe, will unveil the monument at the close of the oration.”

On November 3, the Sun continued with an account of the unveiling ceremonies (“braving the cutting wind”) attended by a “crowd of several hundred persons, composed of former supporters of the Confederacy, their friends and descendants,” noting:

”The monument, which is the work of J. Maxwell Miller and represents a mother holding a dying hero in her arms, in front of a figure typifying the devoted women of the Confederacy, was veiled with the Stars and Stripes and the Stars and Bars, both being drawn aside by Miss Mary Ringgold Trippe, grand-daughter of the late Gen. Anew C. Trippe, chairman of the monument commission.”

In May 1946, the Sun published a light feature by Amy Grief suggests the popular perception of Confederate monuments may have been changing, writing:

“So you drive out Charles street, turn the car at University parkway to face south start with specimen No. 1 — that “Confederate Women of Maryland” price, “The Brave at Home.” It has been there many years, but you’ve never noticed it. It’s not particularly distinguished, not bad—simply a part of the landscape you’ve accepted.

Sources: History of the UDC; Monument City Blog

Sidney Lanier Monument

  • Dates: Dedicated 1942
  • Location: Charles Street near University Parkway
  • Dimensions: almost 9 feet
  • Material: Bronze and unpolished granite boulders


  • 1881: Sidney Lanier dies
  • 1941: Monument cast
  • 1942: Monument to Lanier, designed by Hans Scholar, dedicated in his honor (2/3/42 – centenary of Lanier’s birth), gift of the Baltimore Municipal Art Society

About the monument

The sculpture shows the tall Southerner in repose, holding a pencil and journal, with coat, hat, flute, and sheet music by his side. His gaunt face is framed by an allegorical bas relief with trees and marsh. The sun on the horizon makes a visual reference to a line from his last completed poem, “Sunrise”: “I am lit with the Sun,” which is also the inscription on his grave at Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery.

Cindy Kelly: “Visually it is so beautiful and so unusual, but when you learn about the man, it makes the statue so poignant,”

About Sidney Lanier

The monument Hans Schuler created of Sidney Lanier shows him at rest in a bucolic setting, an idealized view of a man who wanted only to pursue his art but struggled mightily to achieve his goals. … widely acclaimed Southern poet of the post-Civil War period (famous poems include “The Marshes of Glynn” and “Songs of the Chattahoochee”)

  • 1842: Sidney Lanier is born
  • 1861: Lanier graduates from Oglethorpe College in Milledgeville, Georgia, enlists in the Confederate Army, captured by Union soldiers near Wilmington, North Carolina, and placed at Point Lookout Prison in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland

What was Point Lookout?

”a Union POW camp, with bitter cold conditions and no barracks, the captured soldiers and civilians died by the scores. Of the fifty thousand detainees, some four thousand perished, and countless others contracted tuberculosis. Lanier was not spared, and he left the jail skinny and emaciated, bound to suffer from consumption for the rest of his short life.”

  • 1867: Lanier published his only novel, Tiger Lilies, about his time at Point Lookout
  • 1873: Lanier offered the position of first flute in the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (1866-1896) by Asger Hamerik

Letter from Lanier to wife, c. 1873:

[we could] “dwell in [this] beautiful city, among the great libraries, and [in the] midst of the music, the religion, and the art that we love–and I could write my books and be the man I wish to be.”

  • 1879: Lanier appointed a lecturer in English literature at JHU
  • 1881: Lanier died from tuberculosis at age 39, buried in Green Mount Cemetery

Sources: Monument City Blog; Historic Marker Database; Peabody Orchestra - Wikipedia; JHU Magazine

Johns Hopkins University

Note: It may make sense to include some discussion on the relationship of Johns Hopkins University to Confederate memory in Baltimore and historical scholarship on the Civil War and Reconstruction in Maryland.

Additional potential topics for discussion at this stop could include:

  • W.E.B. Dubois on Johns Hopkins University (see Memory in Black and White)
  • The Rise of Jim Crow
  • David Blight at Johns Hopkins University

Homewood House

In 1897, Homewood House became the first Gilman School, known at its founding as The Country School for Boys. In 1902 the property was reassembled and given to Johns Hopkins University.

In 1916 the mansion became the University Faculty Club. In 1936, Homewood was converted to administrative offices. Johns Hopkins University now operates Homewood Museum, which opened to the public in 1987, and its Federal-style architecture, with its red brick and white marble, serves as the inspiration for the campus’ design.

W.E.B. Du Bois in Black Reconstruction in America (1935), wrote the last chapter “The Propaganda of History” argued that the two major centers of history, Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University, had begun a major rewrite of Reconstruction history downplaying any important role that blacks played during the era. Three main themes emerged between 1895 and 1935:

  1. Endless sympathy with the white south
  2. Ridicule, contempt or silence for the Negro
  3. A judicial attitude toward the North, which concludes that the North under great misapprehension did a previous wrong [in Reconstruction], but eventually saw its mistake and retreated.

From the late 1890s, the large scale movement of industry from the Northeast to the South. Reconciliation was necessary to allow this expansion into the South and for capitalists to explore its cheaper, un-unionized labor. Celebration of the Confederacy helped to cope with defeat and the imposition of the new industrial order as nostalgia replaced bereavement.

Shriver Hall

About Shriver:

Mr. Shriver is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa College Fraternity; he was for more than ten years secretary of the General Alumni Association of the Johns Hopkins University. Now in the prime of early middle life, he has achieved an honorable position in his chosen profession, and the standing of a good citizen of his community. He is a member of several social clubs having been one of the founders and first officers of the Johns Hopkins Club. He has taken a prominent part in the social life of the city. He resides at the University Club. His name is among the 320 from Maryland mentioned in Who’s Who in America.


In 1939, alumnus and Baltimore attorney, Alfred Jenkins Shriver, left the University the residue of his estate to build a lecture hall. According to the peculiar conditions of the will, Shriver Hall was to be adorned with murals depicting the Hopkins class of 1891 (Shriver’s class), the original faculties of philosophy and of medicine, the original boards of trustees of the University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore clipper ships, ten Baltimore philanthropists, and ten “famous beauties of Baltimore,” who were named in Mr. Shriver’s will. The last mural has inspired controversy from the time it was publicly announced, including objections from some of the women named in the will, who did not wish to be painted.The university was forced to accept the terms of the gift-or lose it.

Source: Fun Facts about JHU (PDF)

MLK Day in 1988:

The idea of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday was promoted by labor unions in contract negotiations.2 After King’s death, U.S. Representative John Conyers (a Democrat from Michigan) and U.S. Senator Edward Brooke (a Republican from Massachusetts) introduced a bill in Congress to make King’s birthday a national holiday. The bill first came to a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1979. However, it fell five votes short of the number needed for passage.

In Virginia, it was known as Lee–Jackson–King Day, combining King’s birthday with the established Lee–Jackson Day. In 2000, Lee–Jackson Day was moved to the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday in its own right.

Every year since 1988, the Johns Hopkins University has rented the Clipper Room in Shriver Hall, or on several occasions another facility, to the Son of Confederate Veterans to hold our post ceremony social gathering. However this year is different. The John Hopkins University has refused to rent the Clipper Room, or any other facility, to our organization. The sole reason given, per a Johns Hopkins representative, was that we are a “Confederate” organization. Make no mistake about it, we were not denied because the facility was unavailable, or for any other legitimate reason, we were denied because of who we are.

Sources: JHU blog, Records on Buildings and Grounds, Shriver Hall Murals 1953-1958

Lee-Jackson Monument

The Lee and Jackson Monument was the first double equestrian monument in the United States. The monument depicts the two men on their horses right before departing for the Battle of Chancellorsville. While Jackson was fatally wounded in the battle, the Confederate army ultimately won, and the battle was later considered to be Lee’s greatest victory.  

  • December 1928: J. Harry Ferguson, president of the Colonial Trust Company, died and, in his will, provided a gift of $100,000 to the Baltimore Municipal Arts Society providing for the erection of a monument dedicated to Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. Jackson.
  • October 1934: In his will, Ferguson required that the gift be turned over only after the death of his sister, Ella F. Ward, who passed away on October 10, 1934.
  • 1936: Laura Gardin Fraser, who won the design competition for the commission in 1935 (?). She commissioned the architect John Russell Pope (who designed the Baltimore Museum of Art directly north of the monument) to design the base of the monument, controversial reception centered largely on the authenticity of the hats and other clothing worn by the figures.
  •  July 1939: Construction begins on the pedestal. Artist planned to be done in the summer of 1938; in August 1939, the artist offered a new estimate of completion for early 1941. Later revised to late spring 1942, the work stopped again due to “an acute shortage of Italian clay” and limits on metal during World War II.
  • 1946: Sculpture is cast
  •  May 1, 1948: Lee-Jackson Monument dedicated, eighty-fifty anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Note: The following is an extended excerpt from our essay on Confederate Memory in Baltimore. This section should be edited to identify key quotes and summarize the perspective of the various historical actors.

Writing on May 1, 1948, The Sun editorialized that “the laymen, or at least most of the laymen with whom we have talked” saw the Lee-Jackson Monument as a “noble thing” noting:

”They are willing to believe, here and now, that this monument will be loved at and enjoyed by people who know little and care less about the incident it commemorates. They rejoice in its setting, and the appropriateness of its pedestal. They hold, and we go along with them, that here is one memorial which raises the average of our public art and helps support our reputation as the Monumental City.”

That same day, 3,000 people came out to see the dedication (many waving Confederate flags reportedly sold by “hawkers” selling them for just $1 each). The Sun reported on Governor William Preston Lane Jr.’s remarks about the monument to “two men who best typify the gallantry and statesmanship of the Confederacy.”

Emphasizing that the scars of the Civil War have long since been healed, the Governor asserted “our might is the sole remaining bulwark on which the free peoples of the world rest their hopes for remaining free, and to which they look for succor agains the juggernaut of oppression that is threatening to engulf them. The Governor explained the monument:

“is symbolic of our unity of purpose, as a nation, to preserve those things which our forefathers, and those of our generations, have fought, and in the attainment of them, raised among us men of the stature of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.” “We honor here in this bronze, the character and the ability, the strength of conviction and the devotion to a cause, of two men who were great Americans, albeit they rose in this greatness and enshrined themselves in the hearts of their countrymen in a cause that was lost.”

Writing on May 15, 1948, the editorial board of The Baltimore Afro-American took a different approach, commenting:

Speaking at the dedication of a Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson monument in Baltimore a week ago, Gov. William Preston Lane said that the scars of the Civil War have long since healed. What does he mean, “healed”? The governor is president of a conference of governors of 17 Southern States whose chief goal now is to keep all existing college, university, and professional schools “for white only” and, in general, to oppose President Truman’s program of civil rights for all. Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro of Baltimore said, “we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving our sacred institutions. The “sacred institution” which Lee and Jackson sought to wreck was this Federal union of ours. The “sacred institution” they sought to preserve was slavery. Actually both Lee and Jackson were an example of small town rebels who walked roughshod over humble people in an attempt to build a State on the foundation of slave labor. Hitler killed Jews. Lee and Jackson exploited colored people as animals and property. […] These traitors are today held up before us by the Governor of the State, the Mayor of the city, and bishop Noble C. Powell of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and Brother Douglass Freeman of Richmond, Va., editor of the News Leader, as characters to whom we can look for “inspiration”(?) This is pure drivel and tommyrot. So far as the mayor is concerned, we know he was merely making a speech. He doesn’t believe in the confederacy stuff. As for Governor Lane and Bishop Powell, we wonder? If some crack-pot with a diseased brain should leave the city a few thousand dollars with which to erect a memorial to Benedict Arnold, there are probably some church, city and State officials, who could be persuaded by the Daughters of the American Revolution to build it, and to orate its dedication. In Washington this past week the House of Representatives voted to pay the Tampa, Fla., chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy $1000 for damage done to a confederate monument by U.S. sailors on shore leave. The boys didn’t like the rebel statue and toppled it over.

October 1948: Strom Thurmond campaigns in Baltimore, stops at the Lee-Jackson Monument

The States’ Rights Democratic Party (better known as the Dixiecrats) was a short-lived effort to encourage Southern voters to vote in opposition to civil rights by supporting then South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond as a candidate for President. Initial plans, reported on October 1, 1948, called for Strom Thurmond to gather at the Lee-Jackson Monument with Bertram L. Coone, 2d, Maryland Secretary of State, representing Governor Lane; the eight States’ Rights Democrat electors; Miss Frances Munford, women’s chairman for Maryland and other officers of the party.

On October 2, the Sun reported on the visit, writing:

Governor Thurmond’s main speech was made last night at the Lyric Theater, after a day of appearances that attracted little attention in the city. The next stop of the Thurmond car with its waving flag of the Southern Confederacy was at the Lee-Jackson monument near the Museum of Art. There the Governor was greeted by David Maguire, a Loyola College student, garbed in the rented uniform of a Confederate brigadier-general. Pictures were taken. There was no speech. The crowd was even smaller than the one at the armory. The Loyola College student said the outfit was the idea of The Greyhound, Loyola publication, but did not indicate any support for the States’ Rights candidate. “We might pull another stunt for Governor Dewey or President Truman if they come here,” he said. […] At a press conference in the Southern Hotel, Governor Thurmond said many people “are deceived by the name ‘Civil Rights’ given to the legislative proposals which we challenge as violating these principles.”

In a separate editorial, the Sun plaintively asked “Why Not Leave Lee and Jackson Out of It?” continuing:

The Lee-Jackson monument has been highly praised as a work of art and the sentiment attaching to it could not fail to make it appeal to any southerner. On a sight-seeing tour of the city by a person from below the Potomac it obviously is a must. There will be some, however, who will regret the propagandist aspects attending Governor Thurmond’s visit to the monument, just as they have regretted the use of General Lee’s picture in connection with other public demonstrations of the Dixiecrats. General Lee and General Jackson were professional soldiers who kept clear of politics. Neither was active in the movement for secession that preceded war. When the time came to make a decision, it is true that both embraced the cause of their State against the Federal Union. Certainly in the case of Lee, the decision was made with great reluctance. It may be doubted whether either Lee or Jackson would relish being the symbol of any political party. Since neither Lee nor Jackson is here to express an opinion, or to approve, wouldn’t it be better to leave them out?

In 2008, Johns Hopkins University declined to rent their facilities to the Sons of Confederate Veterans after 20 years of hosting Lee-Jackson Monument programs on their campus. According to a letter posted to a forum for Civil War reenactors:

Every year since 1988, the Johns Hopkins University has rented the Clipper Room in Shriver Hall, or on several occasions another facility, to the Son of Confederate Veterans to hold our post ceremony social gathering. However this year is different. The John Hopkins University has refused to rent the Clipper Room, or any other facility, to our organization. The sole reason given, per a Johns Hopkins representative, was that we are a “Confederate” organization. Make no mistake about it, we were not denied because the facility was unavailable, or for any other legitimate reason, we were denied because of who we are. In addition, the Hopkins representative stated that this ruling came directly from the President of the Johns Hopkins University, Mr. William Brody.

Conclusion and Discussion

How to reinterpret the past

Dr. Paul Shackel on how dominant interpretation can change:

“Subordinated groups may subscribe to the dominant interpretation, ignore the dominant view, or fight for representation in the public memory. Transforming the public memory of any sacred place does not come without persistence, hard work, and compromise. While there are often strong movement to eliminate subordinated memories from our national collective memory, some minority groups battle to have their histories remembered.”

Source: Memory in Black and White (Notes)

How to make comments

How Baltimore has discussed this issue before

Some people in Baltimore opposed the creation of these monuments, criticized the racism within the Confederate memorial agenda. While examples of direct responses to the early monuments are hard to find, it is clear that black activists saw the symbols of Confederate memory as a rallying point for opposition.

In 1880, scores of Baltimore’s Union veterans petitioned against a proposal to locate a Confederate monument on Eutaw Place. Even some Confederate veterans stood up in opposition, among them Charles T. Crane who wrote to the Baltimore Sun stating:

I am unwilling to see erected in the public streets of this city a monument to a dead idea, but which will be a standing menace, and a source of bitterness not only to a great number of the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland, but to a great number of the people of the United States.

Despite a strong vote of approval from the Baltimore City Council, the city’s Mayor Ferdinand C. Latrobe returned the resolution “without his approval,” noting:

The public highways and squares of the city are the common property of all, and we who are temporarily entrusted with their control, whatever our personal opinions may be, are not, in my judgment, justified in dedicating any portion of them to a purpose which would be in direct opposition to the sensibilities and wishes of large numbers of citizens.”

As Confederate veterans continued to try to diminish the importance of slavery to the Civil War, Baltimore’s native son Frederick Douglass remarked in 1884:

It is not well to forget the past. Memory was given to man for some wise purpose. The past is… the mirror in which we may discern the dim outlines of the future.

In a speech in Washington, DC delivered in 1889, Douglass likely spoke for many African Americans when he noted:

Well the nation may forget, it may shut its eyes to the past, and frown upon any who may do otherwise, but the colored people of this country are bound to keep the past in lively memory till justice shall be done them.

See also: October 29, 2015 Testimony