BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Plans to rename the site where a monument for two Confederate generals once stood in Baltimore’s Wyman Park Dell moved forward Monday night.
The Robert E. Lee and Thomas. J. “Stonewall” Jackson Monument in the Wyman Park Dell was removed in August 2016.
The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue, the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway, and the Roger B. Taney Monument on Mount Vernon Place were also taken down in Baltimore.
The site where the Confederate generals once stood in Wyman Park could be renamed for civil rights activist Harriet Tubman.
It’s a move that some believe won’t come without some debate.
You could call it a clean slate. The site in Wyman Park Dell is now just a reminder of the controversial historical figures that once stood there.
After the violence that unfolded in Charlottesville over the removal of a Confederate monument, Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered the removal of four of the city’s monuments under the cover of darkness, including the monument of “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee at Wyman Park.
Now, plans to rename the site, which is now referred to as the southwestern “plateau,” are moving forward.
City leaders are calling for the area to be named the “Harriet Tubman Grove” at Wyman Park.
“We’re moving forward to what is more comfortable to the city of Baltimore, and people who live here,” said Baltimore City Council member Mary Pat Clarke.
While the plans seem to get mostly positive reviews, there are some who believe just can’t escape some level of controversy.
“I think there’s always going to be pushback and blow back,” said UMBC history professor Anne Sarah Rubin. “Because I think people felt very strongly about the presence of these statues and what these statues represented.”
Others welcome the change.
“She should be honored, in a big way,” said Margee Morrison. “It’s a little plot of land, but it’s important.”
“I’m all for strong women in history, and c’mon, she did so much for everybody,” said Carly Huss.
City leaders hope to have the site renamed by march 10, which is Harriet Tubman day.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans released the following statement on this decision:
It should be noted that a substantial portion of the land area, within the footprint of the property referenced in the Harriet Tubman Grove Resolution, is subject to an historical preservation easement under the authority of the Maryland Historic Trust. The deed of easement, which is perpetual in nature, includes the land and improvements where the Lee-Jackson Plaza and Monument are located. The base of the monument, which was left in place and is an integral part of the Lee-Jackson monument, remains subject to the protections of the 1984 easement. The Maryland Historical Trust has publicly stated that it will not concede that it lacks authority under the easement to compel restoration.
At a January 23 Baltimore City hearing regarding the Harriet Tubman proposal, it was noted that the project would include renaming, landscaping and refurbishment. How the final resolution proposes to address the very stringent protections afforded the Lee Jackson Monument and Plaza by the historic preservation easement is, at this time, undetermined.
We look forward to reviewing the Resolution in its final form, as well as determining compliance with the terms of the Maryland Historical Trust’s historic preservation easement.