Maryland removes the state's last courthouse Confederate statue

Workers removing the base of the Confederate statue on Monday.

(CNN)Workers on Monday removed what is thought to be the last public Confederate statue in Maryland other than those on battlefields or in cemeteries.

The 13-foot tall copper statue of a boy holding a Confederate flag stood on the lawn of the Talbot County courthouse in Easton for more than 100 years. Named the Talbot Boys, it memorialized fallen members of an Eastern Shore regiment that fought for the Confederacy.
A lawsuit filed by a local NAACP branch last year sought to have the statue removed, claiming it is "racially discriminatory and unlawful."
    For many visitors to the courthouse, the statue served "as an unavoidable, painful reminder every time they enter and leave the courthouse during a trial, hearing, or public meeting, of the hateful legacy of slavery and those who fought to preserve it," the lawsuit stated.
      The Talbot County Council voted 3-2 in September to remove it, but a nonpartisan organization, Move the Monument Coalition, raised $82,000 to pay for moving it.
      Pete Lesher, a Talbot County Council member who voted in favor of removal, said the Talbot Boys monument is "said to be the last such monument in the state on public property outside of a battlefield or cemetery."
      Similar removals have become almost commonplace following the anti-racism activism and protests sparked by George Floyd's death at the hands of police in May 2020, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. More than 160 Confederate symbols, including 94 monuments, were removed that year, according to SPLC data. Just 58 monuments were removed between 2015 and 2019, the center said. More than 70 were removed in 2021, according to the SPLC.
        Talbot County Councilman Frank Divilio, who introduced the resolution before the vote, said there had been "18 months of hearings, protests, yard signs, calls, letters, demonstrations, news stories, blog posts and text messages."
        "We will do more harm than good by delaying this decision any longer," Divilio said, according to minutes from the council meeting.
        The Talbot Boys statue will be moved to Cross Keys Battlefield in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The battlefield was the site of a Confederate victory in 1862.
        It will be under the care of the nonprofit Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, officials said.
          "We believe that historic monuments should remain located where they were originally placed," said foundation CEO Keven Walker. "However, if Civil War monuments that have relevance to the Shenandoah Valley are removed from their original locations, we are open to the appropriate relocation of such monuments to our National Historic District."
          Lesher said, "In the end, I was persuaded that the harm done in allowing [the statue] to remain in place was too great and outweighed it's interpretive potential in that location."